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Graham Rahal trivia Graham Rahal triviaGraham Rahal will be moving up to the Champ Car Atlantic series in 2006. Did you know?
  • At 16 years old he is 6'-2" tall. Still shorter than Justin Wilson, but is he done growing? He says, "I certainly hope so!" The good news is that a Champ Car and an Atlantic car will accommodate tall drivers
  •  When we interviewed him (see our Audio Page) it was clear he was more intelligent than most 16-year olds. Now we find out he maintains a Straight-A 4.0 grade point average in high school. This intelligence will take him a long way in his career.
  • He hopes to journey to Europe, if possible. Atlantic is his main focus. That's what their 2006 year is aimed towards. "My manager Rick Gorme and I have been talking. There's some options available to go over and do some World Series Renault races. At the moment nothing's happening. It's just an option. Like I said, Atlantic's No. 1. We're just getting to the amount of money we need to be able to do the Atlantic season. If we can find sponsors that are interested to do a couple races in Europe, then we'll look at it. As of right now, there's nothing there. Just kind of peeking around."
TV News
NASCAR announces series of 8-year TV deals NASCAR announces series of 8-year TV deals
Midland block Aguri entry Midland block Aguri entryUPDATE We are also hearing that McLaren may refuse to sign along with Midland, to allow the Super Aguri team entry into F1 in 2006.  Look for Bernie Ecclestone to do some behind the scenes maneuvering to entice these two teams to agree. 12/07/05 Nine out of F1's ten teams have signed a document to help 'Super Aguri' launch a late bid for the 2006 grand prix grid.

After the FIA turned down the Honda-backed Japanese outfit, reportedly because of missing paperwork, Max Mosley invited team chief Aguri Suzuki to re-apply, with Williams' missed deadline in 1993 as a precedent.

But this publication can reveal that every team except Midland's 'MF1 Racing' has signed the document prepared by Super Aguri owing support to the Leafield based outfit.  Without unanimity, Aguri cannot succeed in a late entry.

Midland's refusal is probably explained by the fact that only the top ten teams share F1's TV revenue each year.  An eleventh team, therefore, would threaten Colin Kolles-led MF1's slice of the grand prix cake.

We can also reveal that 'Super Aguri' has already agreed to sign Bernie Ecclestone's 2008 Concorde Agreement, meaning that the F1 supremo will be keen to convince Midland - another signatory - to tow the line.

Duncan Dayton enters LMP1 car in ALMS Duncan Dayton enters LMP1 car in ALMSDuncan Dayton, who has a stellar reputation in formula car, vintage and endurance sports car racing, has always enjoyed driving famous race cars. He has countless victories in vintage racing with the 1978 John Player Special Lotus 79 that Mario Andretti drove en route to the Formula 1 world championship in 1978. He has multiple all-out overall lap records in Jacques Villeneuve's Players Reynard 95i. He's a four-time winner of the Monaco Historic Grand Prix (1997, 2000, 2002 and 2004). He's also successfully driven endurance sports cars for various teams everywhere from Le Mans to Sebring to Watkins Glen to Daytona.

Now Dayton, of Danbury, Conn., has purchased another famous race car - Dyson Racing's Lola EX257 AER-powered No. 16 - and he plans to campaign it in the American Le Mans Series in 2006 in the top class, LMP1.

Dayton plans to compete in all 10 races on the ALMS calendar next year with the car, which will be entered by his team, Highcroft Racing. The car's new home base is Highcroft Racing's new, state-of-the-art, 48,000-square-foot shop in Danbury, Conn. Zzzz

"Purchasing the Dyson car was an opportunity to jump-start the team with a proven package, and we're hoping to get a new P1 car for 2007," Dayton said of his plans going forward.

Dayton is actively looking for sponsorship for the season, and hopes to announce who his co-drivers will be soon. He did say that Rick Knoop will be one of his co-drivers at the ALMS season opener, the prestigious Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla. March 15-18.

Like Dayton, Knoop, 52, of Laguna Beach, Calif., is a versatile driver who has been successful in many different types of race cars, and he's driven for several factory teams. He has consistently won and placed in some of the most challenging and prestigious races in the world. Among his career highlights are a Group 5 class victory at Le Mans in 1978; a class victory and third-place finish overall at the 24 Hour Pepsi Challenge (Rolex 24) at Daytona in 1983; and even NASCAR stock car experience.

"Duncan and I have been racing together in Historic Grand Prix events, which is how this relationship began," the second-generation racer said. "I just returned from visiting his new shop in Connecticut, and I'm excited about the program. This is a first-class operation from drivers to equipment and team. Combing our experience in sports car and endurance racing with the proven Dyson car should make us competitive throughout the season."

Dayton has been driving for Intersport Racing in the ALMS for the last few years. He and that team's owner, Jon Field, led the LMP675 point standings in the ALMS for most of the 2003 season but they ended up tied for second in the final class point standings. They were victorious in the LMP675 class at the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in both 2002 and 2003. Dayton was also part of the class-winning team at the Twelve Hours of Sebring in 2002 driving with Field and Michael Durand, which was the first international victory for the Lola EX257 MG.

In addition to its numerous victories in vintage races in the last 15 years, his own team, Highcroft Racing, was a powerhouse in the U.S. Formula Ford 2000 series in the nineties. It often fielded up to four cars in one FF2000 race.

Dayton also recently purchased Dyson Racing's No. 20, but he has since resold that Lola to Autocon Motorsports. That San Diego-based team plans to complete in the ALMS' LMP1 class next year too, with Michael Lewis, Chris McMurry and Bryan Willman behind the wheel.

The Lola EX257 (factory type B0160) won three times in the ALMS in 2004 and 2005 in the LMP1 class. It became the first car in the LMP675 class to ever take an overall victory in ALMS history, which occurred in 2003.

Pre-season testing will be held at Sebring Jan. 23-25.
Rahal: Road racers are better drivers Rahal: Road racers are better driversGraham Rahal, 16-year old son of Bobby Rahal, had this to say today during a press conference to announce his participation in the Champ Car Atlantics series.

Q. Graham, growing up around road racing, as did your dad, is your preference to stay in road racing in the future?

GRAHAM RAHAL: Yes. I've never really been interested in the ovals. Obviously, I drove once this year at Pikes Peak. I will say that I had a great time, led most of the race. It was an exciting experience.

When it comes down to it, road racing is more fun in the end. It's safer, number one, but it's just better overall. It's more fun as a driver to be able to turn both ways instead of just one. In the big picture, I think the better drivers are road racers really. In ovals, like we saw at Pikes Peak this year, a lot of guys that were never fast on a road course all of a sudden were fast because it is easier to just get a car around the oval, especially in like a lower series like we're in now, because it's just flat out all the way around. A road course is definitely what I prefer, what I plan to stay on for the rest of my life.

Graham Rahal Atlantics press conference Graham Rahal Atlantics press conferenceToday the co owner of Mi-Jack Conquest Racing team both in the Champ Car World Series and now in the Champ Car Atlantic Series, Mr. Eric Bachelart was joined by the president of the Champ Car World Series, Mr. Steve Johnson, and the newest member of the Champ Car Atlantic driver roster, 16-year-old Graham Rahal in a special media teleconference. More....
Suspension failure slows Ferrari Suspension failure slows FerrariWednesday was the first day of testing this week for Ferrari, at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit, in Andalusia. Today, the two official test drivers, Luca Badoer and Marc Gene were on track, the first at the wheel of an F2005, fitted with an engine modified to conform to the 2006 technical regulations. He worked mainly on the development of Bridgestone tires, but the session ended early because of a mechanical failure on the right front corner of the car. Up to that point, the Italian had covered 40 laps, the quickest in a time of 1.20.840. Gene drove an F2004, carrying out reliability testing on the new V8 engine, in conjunction with Shell. The Spaniard covered a total of 84 laps, setting a best time of 1.19.692. Testing continues at this circuit tomorrow, again with Luca Badoer and Marc Gene on track.
Rahal: NASCAR is where the money is Rahal: NASCAR is where the money isThanks to Tony George's creation of the IRL and the resulting near destruction of open wheel racing, NASCAR is now the place where the big money is.

Graham Rahal, agrees. Rahal, who won't celebrate his 17th birthday until the first day of next year's Daytona test days on 4 January, got his first taste of the Rolex Series during the Hoosier tyre test at Homestead-Miami Speedway this week.

“It's a good opportunity for me to get out there and start my sportscar career," FBMW stand-out Rahal Jr insisted, "It's good for me to start at such a young age - I've got many years where I could be doing this. Look at Elliott Forbes-Robinson, he's still doing it....”

While his father established his name primarily in open-wheel racing, Graham makes no secret of his interest in sportscar racing. Of course, Bobby Rahal is no stranger to success in sportscar racing either, having earned an overall victory in the 1981 Rolex 24 at Daytona amongst his other accomplishments.

“I want to be a professional race car driver, and I want to make a living doing this,” Rahal Jr said, “I've got to go where I'm going to be able to do that. Right now, in open-wheel racing, you're not going to be doing that too well.

"I'm not saying that you are [going to do well] here in the Rolex Series, and I really don't know where you're going to make the money other than NASCAR, but we've got to see where things take us. Sportscars have always been a huge interest of mine. Ever since I was very little, I always liked the look of them, and I like the idea of a longer race. Driving this car this week has been a lot of fun. It's not out of the picture, that's for sure.”
Briscoe makes surprise return to F1 Briscoe makes surprise return to F1Ryan Briscoe made his return to the cockpit of a Formula 1 car for the first time in a year when he tested for Panasonic Toyota Racing at Jerez today. The Australian, a regular test driver for Toyota until 2004, was drafted in as a late replacement for Olivier Panis, who was unwell. Briscoe was making one of his first appearances in a race car since his terrifying accident at Chicago in this year's Indy Racing League but he reported no ill effects after nearly 80 laps.
SPEED NASCAR TV deal interview SPEED NASCAR TV deal interviewBelow are quotes from SPEED Executive VP and General Manager Hunter Nickell regarding the recently announced NASCAR television deal:

What does the new NASCAR television deal mean to SPEED?

It not only solidifies SPEED as the home of NASCAR TV by extending our current agreement with NASCAR for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and all of our popular shoulder programming, but it also shows a strong faith in what we are doing, by moving high-profile events like the NASCAR Nextel All-Star Challenge and the Gatorade Duels to SPEED beginning in 2007.

The deal keeps the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series on SPEED. Where does that series stand on the network?

The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series provides the highest-rated racing on SPEED. The Nielsen Household Rating of 2.1 (1.3 million households) for last year’s Daytona race remains the highest-rated event in network history. Ratings for the series have increased each of the three years it has been on SPEED and we see that trend continuing.

The deal calls for two NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series to be aired on FOX beginning in 2007. Does that help or hurt SPEED’s position as the “exclusive” home of the series?  zzzz

It’s an absolute positive. Exposing some of the most competitive racing in the world to the FOX network audience will serve everyone’s interests, including SPEED’s.

SPEED made some late-season changes to its NASCAR TV lineup in 2005. What is the programming philosophy moving forward?

SPEED is known for its “big event programming.” Whether its 70-plus hours from Daytona Speedweeks, multi-day coverage of the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction or major endurance events like the 24 Hours of Le Mans or the Rolex 24 at Daytona, SPEED puts the exclamation point on signature automotive television events.

With NASCAR, we knew that the Chase for the Nextel Cup, the finale at Homestead-Miami and the New York banquet were events we would elevate, giving them coverage commensurate with other championship level events in the sports world. Moving forward, we will look for other opportunities to raise the television profile of specific events, as well as being the day-to-day source of information and entertainment for the NASCAR fan. Events like the NASCAR Nextel All-Star Challenge, the Gatorade Duels and the Nextel Pit Crew Challenge certainly fit that philosophy.

SPEED has worked well in support of NASCAR’s television partners, including NBC and TNT. Do you expect that dynamic to change with ABC/ESPN in 2007?

While the network television deal is broken into three major segments of the season, SPEED covers the NASCAR season from Daytona testing right through the banquet. It is this continuity of coverage that makes SPEED the definitive home of NASCAR TV. We certainly don’t expect our approach to change, and anticipate an amicable working relationship with all of the television partners.

Does the deal allow for SPEED Channel to explore emerging technologies with NASCAR content?

Absolutely. SPEED has been very active over the last year in the areas of VOD, broadband, interactive television and mobile applications. Just this summer, SPEED introduced a series of “fast-turn” NASCAR VOD offerings, including NASCAR Race Rewind, NASCAR Victory Lane and NASCAR Beyond the Wheel. We expect to keep pace, and on occasion set the pace, in the arena of emerging technology.

SPEED is the nation's first and foremost cable network dedicated to motor sports and the passion for everything automotive. From racing to restoration, motorcycles to movies, SPEED delivers quality programming from the track to the garage. Now available in nearly 70 million homes in North America, SPEED is among the fastest growing sports cable networks in the country and an industry leader in interactive TV, video on-demand, mobile initiatives and broadband services.

Montagny leads the way at Jerez Montagny leads the way at Jerez
Wednesday's testing times from Jerez

1. MONTAGNY Renault 1m19.468s
2. GENE Ferrari 1m19.687s
3. KOVALAINEN Renault 1m19.809s
4. DAVIDSON Honda 1m20.144s
5. KARTHIKEYAN Williams 1m20.291s
6. DE LA ROSA McLaren 1m20.369s
7. R SCHUMACHER Toyota 1m20.454s
8. KLIEN Red Bull 1m20.581s
9. ROSBERG Williams 1m20.644s
10. BADOER Ferrari 1m20.845s
11. ROSSITER Honda 1m20.978s
12. BRISCOE Toyota 1m21.211s
13. PAFFETT McLaren 1m21.252s
14. BIAGI MF1 1m21.878s
15. ALBERS MF1 1m23.203s

MF1 Racing Day 1 of 5 at Jerez MF1 Racing Day 1 of 5 at JerezMF1 Racing began a two-car test at Jerez, Spain, today with Christijan Albers and Thomas Biagi driving. For his first proper test in an F1 car, Biagi spent time familiarizing himself with the EJ15B car and completed 91 laps. He focused on the electronic software development and Bridgestone tire development and set an encouraging time of 1:21.82. Albers was at the wheel of an interim EJ15B V8 car for the first time and conducted all the necessary system checks. He completed 51 laps with a fastest lap of 1:23.19 and was able to provide some very useful data to the team. The test will continue tomorrow with Tiago Monteiro and Belgian driver Jeffrey van Hooydonk.

Christijan Albers said: "I think it was a reasonable day today but we still have a lot of work to do. It is nice to get to know the team and work together. We have been trying to get the car to suit my driving style, however, this is not easy and it takes time. We had some little issues today but I think this is normal with a new engine and a new package. I am quite happy and hopefully it will get much better by the end of the week."

Thomas Biagi commented: "I am happy with the result of this test. For the first time in my career, I have done a lot of kilometers in a Formula One car. I was working step by step with the team and all the engineers helped me understand the car. We have tried different settings on traction control for instance, which is something new for me. I think my performance today was quite good but for sure, if I had been running tomorrow, I would have improved my lap times still further. Since August, I have been preparing hard physically with my trainers from the ISO Kinetic centre in order to be ready for this opportunity and I would like to thank him for that. I also want to thank MF1 Racing my sponsors and my manager Eva for that great experience."

James Key, Technical Director of MF1 Racing added: "We have run the V8 car for the first time today and we did not have any major issues with it which is positive. The installation that we did for the interim car has been good, the engine has performed as we expected and hoped and has proved reliable. We have a few issues we have to solve for tomorrow but nothing fundamental. Christijan's feedback has been very useful. He picked up on a few things which we can work on tonight to improve his set-up. We also have some work to do with Bridgestone on the new tires for next year in the next few days. Thomas has done a great job today with some good lap times. He did not have any problems adapting to an F1 car and has contributed well to our efforts today. All in all, we are pleased with the progress."

Driver Team Time
T. Biagi MF1 Racing 1:21.82
C. Albers MF1 Racing 1:23.19

TNT and NASCAR Extend On-Air Relationship Through 2014 TNT and NASCAR Extend On-Air Relationship Through 2014Turner Sports announced today a new long-term agreement with NASCAR to air six consecutive races per year on Turner Network Television (TNT) through the 2014 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season. Turner, which has been a NASCAR broadcaster since 1984, will enjoy scheduling continuity for the first in what will be a 31-year partnership with NASCAR by contract conclusion. TNT’s new deal begins in 2007 with the June NEXTEL Cup race at Pocono and includes races at Michigan, California, the marquee July 4th primetime race from Daytona, Chicago and New Hampshire.  The deal also includes unique new media distribution opportunities for TNT to distribute its race telecast highlights across the Time Warner family of properties.  

“Extending our 20-plus year partnership with NASCAR has been a priority for our company for a long time, and we’re looking forward to airing NEXTEL Cup races on TNT well into the next decade,” said David Levy, President of Turner Sports. “Our expertise in marketing, promotion and production combined with our new schedule will provide benefits to viewers, cable operators and to the entire sport of NASCAR.”   

 “Knowing that NASCAR’s relationship continues with Turner well into the next decade is good for the sport and for our fans who have come to rely on TNT’s coverage of NASCAR,” said NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France.

 TNT, as part of its joint venture with partner NBC, will once again air the entire second-half of NASCAR’s NEXTEL Cup Series and Busch Series seasons in 2006. That agreement includes the sharing of all talent and production costs. Beginning in 2007, Turner Sports will use its own independent production and talent teams to call the six-race package.  

Turner Sports, Inc. presents some of the best and most popular sporting events worldwide and is a leader in televised sports programming.  With events airing on three networks - TBS, TNT and Turner South - Turner Sports’ line-up includes the NBA, NASCAR and NASCAR.COM, Major League Baseball, Atlanta Thrashers hockey, Atlanta Hawks basketball, college football, professional golf and PGA.com.

Turner Network Television (TNT), television’s destination for drama and one of cable’s top-rated networks, offers original movies and limited series, including Into the West, an epic six-week television event from DreamWorks Television and master storyteller and executive producer Steven Spielberg; original recurring series, including the detective drama The Closer, starring Kyra Sedgwick, and the crime thriller Wanted, with Gary Cole; powerful one-hour dramas, such as Law & Order, Without a Trace, ER, NYPD Blue, Charmed, Judging Amy and Angel; broadcast premiere movies; and championship sports coverage, including NASCAR and the NBA.  TNT is also available in high-definition.

Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company, is a major producer of news and entertainment product around the world and the leading provider of programming for the basic cable industry.

Formula BMW
2006 Formula BMW USA schedule 2006 Formula BMW USA scheduleBMW of North America, LLC announced today an impressive calendar for the 2006 Formula BMW USA season with the 14-round championship to take place on seven of the most prestigious race tracks in the USA and Canada. 

Entering its third season in North America, Formula BMW USA offers an exciting schedule, which will visit five circuits that the championship has raced on in its first two seasons. Two new venues have been added to enhance the variety of challenging race tracks that will enable aspiring young open-wheel drivers to gain valuable racing experience. 

The 2006 championship will allow Formula BMW USA drivers to race in conjunction with several different North American road racing series, in addition to both North American Formula 1 Grand Prix races. Formula BMW USA will race in support of Formula 1, the American Le Mans Series (ALMS), the Champ Car World Series and the Grand American Road Racing Association. 

The season will start at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on May 19-22 with Rounds 1 and 2 in support of the ALMS. Rounds 3 and 4 will take place at Lime Rock Park in support of Grand American on May 26-29. Rounds 5 through 8 will be run in support of the Canadian and the United States Grands Prix on June 23-25 and July 1-2. The championship fight will be taken to the streets with Rounds 9 through 12 at the San José Grand Prix on July 26-28 and the Grand Prix of Denver on August 11-13 with Champ Car. The winner of the 2006 Formula BMW USA Championship will be decided in the two final Rounds at Mosport International Raceway on September 1-3 in support of the ALMS. 

"We continue to build on the success of the Formula BMW USA Championship after its first two seasons," said Alexander Schmuck, Formula BMW USA Motorsports Manager. "This caliber of schedule, combined with the unique Formula BMW Education and Coaching Program, will provide great exposure and guarantee thrilling action. We look forward to another exciting season in 2006." 

2005 was Formula BMW USA's second season. 15-year old Formula BMW Junior driver Richard Philippe won the Overall and the Rookie Championship.  

The 2006 season test ban will go into effect on March 15, 2006. Four official testing sessions have been scheduled at Road Atlanta on March 27-28, at Virginia International Raceway South Course on April 8-9, at Carolina Motorsports Park on April 16-17 and at Miller Motorsports Park on July 18-19. Additionally, the Formula BMW USA drivers will have the chance to test their cars the Thursday prior to the race events at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and Mosport International Raceway.

2006 Formula BMW USA Schedule

Official Test Road Atlanta March 27-28 Georgia
Official Test Virginia International Raceway April 8-9 Virginia
Official Test Carolina Motorsports Park April 29-30 South Carolina
Round 1 and 2 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course May 19-22 Ohio
Round 3 and 4 Lime Rock Park May 26-29 Connecticut
Round 5 and 6 Canadian Grand Prix June 23-25 Montreal, Canada
Round 7 and 8 United States Grand Prix July 1-2 Indiana
Official Test Miller Motorsports Park July 18-19 Utah
Round 9 and 10 San José Grand Prix July 26-28 California
Round 11 and 12 Grand Prix of Denver Aug. 11-13 Colorado
Round 13 and 14 Mosport International Raceway Sept. 1-3 Ontario, Canada

Official: Rahal to run Champ Car Atlantics Official: Rahal to run Champ Car AtlanticsOne of the brightest young American road racing stars is joining the Champ Car Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama and Mi-Jack Conquest Racing with today’s announcement that 16-year-old Graham Rahal will compete for the team in the 2006 Atlantic campaign.

The son of former Champ Car champion and distinguished Atlantic series graduate Bobby Rahal will drive an entry sponsored by Norwalk Furniture, Sparco, Robert Bosch, the CAR Group and Renier Corporation next season for the recently-formed Mi-Jack Conquest Racing Atlantic team.

The move into the Atlantic Championship continues a rapid rise for Graham Rahal in the open-wheel development ranks. After entering the world of racing through karting, Graham first showed his burgeoning talent by winning a national Stars of Karting competition in 2003. The following year he joined the inaugural Formula BMW USA series and finished third in the circuit’s rookie standings. In 2005, Graham raced in the Star Mazda Pro Series, posting six podium results on his way to a fourth-place finish in the championship. He also became the youngest winner in the history of the series when he captured the checkered flag at Portland International Raceway in late July. zzzz 

Continuing his impressive accomplishments this fall, Graham, a junior in high school, became the youngest driver ever to win the SCCA National Championship Runoffs. He established several Formula Atlantic records at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course while dominating the competition that his father won three decades earlier.

“I am excited about taking the next step up the ladder and racing in Atlantics with Mi-Jack Conquest Racing next season,” said Graham Rahal, a native of New Albany, Ohio. “I think we should be very competitive and I hope to rack up some wins and get the championship. (Team owner) Eric (Bachelart) is a great guy, and my dad and I were impressed when we visited the Conquest shop. It’s going to be a very competitive championship, but this will be a good situation for me and I am really looking forward to getting in the new car and going racing.”

A stellar Atlantic series competitor from 1975-78, Bobby Rahal is happy that his son is continuing his racing development in a series that helped serve as a springboard for his legendary career that featured three Champ Car titles and an Indy 500 victory. Rahal is also excited to bring along respected engineer Don Halliday and Graham’s driver coach Mike Zimicki to the Mi-Jack Conquest team next season.

“I have always liked Eric (Bachelart) as a person, and I am impressed with how he goes about his racing,” said Bobby Rahal. “He’s there to win, and I think it’s going to be a very good environment for Graham, with everyone focused on racing and winning. We are fortunate to have Don Halliday and Mike Zimicki in the equation working with Eric, and I think Graham is going to have a good chance to be successful. Graham has always been a bit precocious as far as moving up quickly, but all credit goes to him because he’s the guy standing on the gas and he has matured quickly, so hopefully this will be another strong season for him.”

After the new generation of the Champ Car Atlantic Championship, featuring a new Swift chassis design powered a 2.3-liter, 300-horspower Cosworth engine, was announced this summer, Bachelart and Mi-Jack Conquest Racing were one of the first teams to step up and announce that they were joining the new-look series. A former racer who claimed the 1991 Indy Lights championship, Bachelart and his team just completed their third season competing in the Champ Car World Series, enjoying strong results from Nelson Philippe and 2004 Atlantic Rookie of the Year Andrew Ranger.

”We are excited about having Graham join the team,” said Bachelart. “He is clearly quite talented, and he is very focused on success at the race track so we feel as though we are going to be in a competitive position right from the start next season. We are happy to have this agreement in place and are working to finalize details with our second Atlantic car.”

The Champ Car Atlantic Championship continues to be the premier open-wheel development series in North America. The championship is noted for its long history of graduating its stars into Champ Car competition and has helped produce past Champ Car champions Paul Tracy, Jimmy Vasser, Bobby Rahal, Danny Sullivan, Michael Andretti and Jacques Villeneuve. 2005 Champ Car competitors Alex Tagliani, Andrew Ranger and Ronnie Bremer are also established Atlantic graduates along with 2004 Champ Car Rookie of the Year and 2003 Atlantic champ A.J. Allmendinger. In 2006, competitors will fight for the 12-race championship and the unique $2 million Champ Car series champion’s bonus. For more information on the Atlantic series, please visit www.champcaratlantic.com.

Racing News
Big end-of-year BMW party and trophy presentation Big end-of-year BMW party and trophy presentationSounding the Alpenhorn and signing autographs in the afternoon, partying and presenting awards in the evening: Saturday saw more than 500 guests celebrating the end of the 2005 season at the BMW Motorsport Party in the Austrian town of Seefeld.

BMW Board Member Professor Burkhard Göschel and BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen paid tribute to BMW's triumphs in the World Touring Car Championship and the 24-Hour Race on the Nürburgring, as well as title wins and successes in numerous other championships during the presentation of the highly endowed BMW Sports Trophy.

At midday, the festivities were mainly for the benefit of the Seefeld population. On the Innsbrucker Strasse, demonstration tours were provided courtesy of the high-speed BMW Motorsport fleet of Formula BMW, BMW 320i and BMW M3 GTR cars. The ranks of racing drivers were busy signing autographs and, along with Mario Theissen, testing their skills at blowing the Alpenhorn. A ride in a horse-drawn carriage, in traditional Austrian costume, allowed the squad - normally so conscientious about "drink-driving" - to enjoy a Williams pear brandy as a symbolic farewell to partner WilliamsF1.

Taking part in the Seefeld activities were Formula One drivers Nick Heidfeld, Mark Webber, Nico Rosberg and Antonio Pizzonia, as well as World Touring Car Champion Andy Priaulx with his fellow-competitors Dirk Müller and Jörg Müller. Junior racing ace Sebastian Vettel and Germany's most successful female touring car driver, Claudia Hürtgen, were also present. One of the fans' very favorite BMW drivers, Alessandro Zanardi, was also in on the action once again. In 2005, the "simpatico" Italian not only celebrated a race win with his BMW 320i WTCC but also managed to claim the title in the Italian Touring Car Championship. Hans-Joachim Stuck, the "eminence grise" among BMW drivers, again assumed the role of anchorman. zzzz

Acting as hosts to the evening's program in the Seefeld World Championship Hall were the 2005 winner of the German television prize Sebastian Hellmann (Premiere) and Mirjam Weichselbraun (MTV and ORF). The film review of the year presented a roll call of triumphs and shock-horror moments - all in keeping with the party slogan of "Pure Adrenaline".

BMW Sports Trophy 2005.

Franz Engstler wins highly endowed trophy.

Seefeld (AUT), 3rd December 2005. The traditional, generously endowed BMW Sports Trophy goes to a Bavarian in 2005. Franz Engstler (44) from the Allgäu accumulated the highest total of points with a commanding title victory in the Asian Touring Car Championship (ATCC) and his results in the Campionato Italiano Superturismo and DMSB Production Car Championship series, as well as the European Touring Car Cup in Vallelunga. The former German Touring Car (DTM) driver secured the winner's prize of 35,000 euros at the wheel of his BMW 320i.

This is the 40th time the BMW Sports Trophy has been awarded. A total purse of 241,000 euros was distributed among the 21 most successful international BMW privateer drivers at the award ceremony that formed part of the BMW Motorsport Party in Seefeld, Austria.

Based on the Sports Trophy's coefficient system, Engstler received 610 points. The runner-up was last year's winner Richard Göransson. In his BMW 320i, the Swede had succeeded in defending his title as Swedish Touring Car Championship as well as winning the European Touring Car Cup. The 27-year-old driver from Örebro was awarded a prize of 25,000 euros for his Sports Trophy tally of 495 points.

Third place (20,000 euros) was taken by another German who put in a successful performance in the international arena: Marc Hennerici, also driving a BMW 320i, managed to collect 485 points by winning the Independents' Trophy for private entrants in the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) and taking a class win in the 24-Hour Race on the Nürburgring.

"Of the 21 privateer drivers who received the Sports Trophy prizes, eight came away with a title," emphasized BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen, and went on to explain: "All these accomplishments were achieved without direct factory support, and that deserves special respect. In a wide range of categories around the globe these drivers and teams prevailed against other brands and different vehicle and engine concepts. They are important ambassadors of the technical and versatile performance potential of our cars."

All rankings in the BMW Sports Trophy 2005:

Driver Car Points; major successes or series

1. Franz Engstler (GER)
BMW 320i 610; 1st place Asian Touring Car Championship
2. Richard Göransson (SWE)
BMW 320i 495; 1st place Swedish TCC and ETCC
3. Marc Hennerici (GER)
BMW 320i 485; 1st place Privateer Drivers WTCC; Class win 24 h Nürburgring
4. Thed Björk (SWE)
BMW 320i 440; Swedish TCC and ETCC
5. Claudia Hürtgen (GER)
BMW 320i 430; 1st place Long-Distance Championship Nürburgring; Class win 24 h, ETCC
6. Thorsten Schubert (GER)
BMW 320i 370; 2nd place Long-Distance Championship; Class win 24 h
7. Casper Elgaard (DKN)
BMW 320i 290; 1st place Danish TCC
8. Justin Marks (USA)
BMW M3 GTR 285; Grand-AM Cup Series
9. Will Turner (USA)
BMW M3 GTR 275; Grand-Am Cup Series
10. Carl Rosenblad (SWE)
BMW 320i 270; WTCC
11. Jörg Weidinger (GER)
BMW M3 256; 1st place FIA European Hillclimb Championship
12. Donald Salama (USA)
BMW M3 GTR 225; Grand-Am Cup Series
13. Walter Meloni (ITA)
BMW M3 GTR 201; Endurance Touring Car Series, Campionato Italiana Velocita Turismo
14. Vladimir Nechaev (RUS)
BMW 320i 195; 1st place Russian TCC
15. John Nielsen (DKN)
BMW 320i 195; Danish TCC
16. Patrick Belien (BEL)
BMW M3 GTR 188; Belcar
Jan Jakobs (BEL)
BMW M3 GTR 188; Belcar
17. Stefano Gabellini (ITA)
BMW M3 GTR 185; Endurance Touring Car Series
18. Gianluca De Lorenzi (ITA)
BMW 320i 175; Campionato Italiano Superturismo
19. Alessandro Bernasconi (ITA)
BMW 320i 170; 2nd place Campionato Italiano Turismo
20. Mario Josten (GER)
BMW M3 GTR 168; Belcar

TCC = Touring Car Championship
PCM = Production Car Championship
ETCC = European Touring Car Cup Vallelunga
WTCC = FIA World Touring Car Championship

GPMA response to Williams announcement GPMA response to Williams announcement"The Grand Prix Manufacturers Association (GPMA) acknowledges Williams´ decision to sign a new commercial agreement with FOM. At their most recent board meeting, on 29 November 2005, the five manufacturers BMW, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Renault and Toyota reaffirmed their binding agreement to race together only in a series which satisfies the fundamental principles of a clear and equitable World Championship. While the GPMA members and their affiliated teams appreciate that progress has been made in recent negotiations, they remain committed to their objective to further develop the sport for the benefit of all stakeholders and in particular the fans.”
Hamlin and Finley to BDR Hamlin and Finley to BDRFollowing up on last week’s news regarding its recent changes to the #22 CAT Racing team, Bill Davis Racing released more details Tuesday about its 2006 plans for the #55 car, confirming Derrick Finley will serve as crew chief for Michael Waltrip and the #55 Napa Auto Parts crew. Along with Finley, the majority of the crew members who worked on the #22 car this 2005 season will move to the #55 team. “Derrick has done a good job with the #22 car this year. Putting him and his experienced group of guys with Michael is going to make the entire transition back into a two-car team easier for all of us,” said Bill Davis, team owner and president of Bill Davis Racing. “Derrick is a very intelligent individual and a hard worker. I am confident he, Michael and the rest of the guys have what it takes to get the #55 NAPA car up front.”

“I’m really looking forward to having two teams. Having Blaney and Hamlin’s input is going to be valuable. I’ve known Hamlin for a long time. We’ll work well together,” Finley said. “It’s a big help to be able to take most of my guys with me. We’ll have our core group together with a new driver, which should help speed everything up as far as comfort level for all of us.” BDR PR

Parrott signs with Petty Parrott signs with PettyNextel Cup Series champion Todd Parrott has been named crew chief for the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge team and driver Bobby Labonte. Robbie Loomis, Executive Vice President of Operations and a NASCAR Nextel Cup Series champion himself, made the announcement. "While few can match him in knowledge and strategy, no one can match Todd Parrott when it comes to the desire to win," Loomis said. "Working together with Paul Andrews (crew chief for Kyle Petty's #45 Dodge and a former NASCAR Nextel Cup Series champion) and the talent we have here, we feel we have the ingredients to return Petty Enterprises to victory lane." Greg Steadman, who had been serving as crew chief for the #43, has been named Competition Director for Petty Enterprises and is involved with both race teams. "I can't begin to tell you how excited I am to be a part of Petty Enterprises," Parrott said. "I've been a fan of Richard Petty since I could talk, and one of the most exciting times of my life is when my dad (Buddy Parrott) was crew chief for Richard. When I see the people who are coming into the organization and how hard everyone is working to get Petty Enterprises back to the top, I can't help but be excited to be a part of that," Parrott continued. "Robbie Loomis, Bobby Labonte . . . these guys are coming here for one reason, and that's to win." Parrott, 41, is a native of Charlotte, N.C. Winner of the 1999 NASCAR Nextel Cup championship with driver Dale Jarrett, Parrott begins his 12th year as a leader of NASCAR race teams in 2006. He grew up in the sport and began working on race cars when just 14 years old, developing into one of the top mechanical and strategy-minded names in motorsports. Williams Company PR
NASCAR disappointed in drivers NASCAR disappointed in driversNASCAR officials are "extremely disappointed" in Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and other drivers who failed to attend the season-ending awards ceremonies. "It was very disappointing to NASCAR and the entire industry that drivers did not show up for various awards," spokesman Jim Hunter said Tuesday. "It shows a lack of respect for the history and tradition of the sport." NASCAR president Mike Helton plans to speak with the drivers who failed to attend last week's ceremonies in New York, Hunter said. The sanctioning body also is considering ways to ensure future attendance. Gordon, who finished 11th in the standings, skipped the banquet because he was in Paris preparing to compete in the Race of Champions all-star event. Actor Will Ferrell, pretending to be Gordon, accepted the $1,075,386 payout -- which included a $250,000 bonus for finishing 11th -- on Gordon's behalf. Gordon's absence was glaring because under NASCAR's new points system the 11th-place driver is awarded a spot at the banquet as a reward for being the highest finishing driver outside of the Chase for the championship. Earnhardt, selected as NASCAR's most popular driver for the third straight season, didn't travel to New York to pick up his award. Also absent were Elliott Sadler and Kasey Kahne, who earned a combined $175,000 in secondary awards. It's not clear what NASCAR can do to force drivers to attend the ceremonies. Among the things being considered is revoking the contingency awards that Kahne and Sadler received and giving the money to the runner-ups. ESPN.com/AP
Racing News
Edwards with 4th quarter DOY balloting Edwards with 4th quarter DOY ballotingBackflipping NASCAR Nextel Cup Series driver Carl Edwards was voted Speed Channel Driver of the Year presented by Gillette M3 Power Nitro fourth quarter 2005.  "The neatest thing about the Speed Channel Driver of the Year is that I've been nominated twice," said Edwards. "Just to see those commercials, seeing my name on the television with all those drivers from all different series, it's so amazing to be considered for it.

"To win a quarter it's amazing. Especially compared to Tony Schumacher with his success, and Tony Stewart, obviously, what he has done the award means the world," explained Edwards.

Tafel Team Adds A New Grand Am Car Tafel Team Adds A New Grand Am CarJim Tafel will expand his Tafel Motorsports team to three teams in 2006 to compete in the Grand American Rolex Series in the Porsche GT3 Cup cars.  The three cars will compete in all 13 of the Grand Am races next season.
Track News
No Casino At Pocono Raceway No Casino At Pocono RacewayLONG POND, Pa. -- Pocono Raceway CEO and Chairman of the Board Dr. Joseph Mattioli announced Monday that his family-operated company would be withdrawing its application to build a casino near the 2.5-mile facility.

The slot casino was to anchor a planned multi-million-dollar gaming and entertainment complex near the track owned by the Mattiolis. The family had already started the application process in November, hiring a law firm and a top operating firm and obtaining a $50 million dollar letter of credit. The Mattioli Company already owns several housing subdivisions as well as the South Boston Speedway in Virginia.

In a statement released Monday, Dr. Mattioli said he was concerned that the amount of money and number of outside professionals needed to run such a business would be "contrary to all of our family investment models that have been so successful "in the past."

France says Car of Tomorrow in 2007 France says Car of Tomorrow in 2007Brian France, answering questions last Thursday at a media event in NY City stated that  NASCAR’s Car of Tomorrow would definitely be raced, and it will probably begin in 2007 as originally planned, but on a limited basis that first year.
Scuderia Toro Rosso should be points contender Scuderia Toro Rosso should be points contenderVitantonio Liuzzi believes that Scuderia Toro Rosso will start the year strong and contend for points throughout the year.

"The objective? To gather as many points as possible," he said in an interview with Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport. "I think there are the conditions to be in the top eight especially at the beginning, when we are able to count on the reliability of our V10, which already has a season under its belt."

"I know almost all the boys working at Faenza, because I drove their two-seater in the past," he added. "I've found a very motivated team, people with some unsettled business in F1 which they hope to put right, now or in 2007."

"We've always done our best with the means at our disposal, therefore I'm satisfied about what we have all achieved in the past," said technical director Gabriele Tredozi. "But I can't deny that the idea of seeing one of our drivers on the podium has   been my obsession for the last 20 years, when each morning I look at myself in the mirror while shaving.

"We'll need more time, because in F1 you can't become competitive from one day to the next, but you can see the turning point. While before we had to perform miracles to be there at the start of the season, and our real objective was to get to the end of it, now we have stability, which allows us to work more serenely.

"Now it's up to us, by keep on giving the maximum as we have always done through the various ownerships at Minardi, bringing out the best."

Scuderia Toro Rosso to build own car for 2006 Scuderia Toro Rosso to build own car for 2006Scuderia Toro Rosso was rumored to be using a derivative of the Red Bull 'A' team's RB1 from last year.  However, Red Bull Racing's technical operations director Gunther Steiner told Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport: "It (the RB1) won't be the car with which Toro Rosso will start next season. The car that debuts in Bahrain will be fully built in Faenza."
JVC Benelux joins MF1 Racing JVC Benelux joins MF1 RacingMF1 Racing announced this morning its partnership with JVC Benelux for the 2006 World Championship season. JVC Benelux, which already sponsors Christijan Albers, will sponsor and supply the Silverstone-based team with a variety of leading-edge electronic equipment, including television monitors, DVD players and home theatre systems. The deal was facilitated by GR8industries.com, the leading brand and motorsports marketing agency in the Benelux region.

Colin Kolles, Managing Director of MF1 Racing
"I am very happy to welcome JVC as a sponsor to our team. JVC is a global brand renowned for its quality and technical innovation - a reputation which fits perfectly with the image of MF1 Racing and our fellow partners. I am sure that this relationship will not only produce great benefits for the team and for JVC, but also for the fortunate guests who will enjoy this fine equipment in our new hospitality centre."

Ruud Nagel, Marketing Director of JVC Benelux
"We have been a proud supporter of Christijan Albers for three years and strongly believe in his talent. When it was announced that Christijan would become a race driver for MF1 Racing, we acquainted ourselves with the team's management and were especially interested in learning about their ambitions for the coming seasons."

"Their new approach and team image have convinced us to become a team partner and supplier. For us, F1 has proven to be a successful platform upon which to promote our brand values and products. We wish the team and Christijan a very successful future and are extremely proud to be a part of MF1 Racing's inaugural season." MF1 Racing

Fernando Alonso talks about championship year Fernando Alonso talks about championship yearSince clinching the title for Renault in China, Fernando Alonso has been enjoying the fruits of his success. As the off-season testing kicks off in earnest, Alonso looks back on his sensational season with Renault

Fernando, we haven’t seen much of you since China. How are things?
"I have had some good weeks! Some fun with my family and friends, and remembering the special times we had this year. This is the right time to enjoy it, because maybe there won’t be so much again in the future, so I have to enjoy the moment."

What is your best memory from the season?
"There are so many… I think Brazil will stay as the day of my life. China was a special moment too. And the French Grand Prix, Renault’s home race, winning in front of thousands of fans… they are all unforgettable."

Take us back to Brazil. What was going through your mind on the last lap?
"I was thinking about the tires! They were on the limit, and I remember asking my engineer Rod how far behind Schumacher was because I didn’t want to lose third place in the final few meters. Then, finally, I saw the last corner..."

The first thing you did was thank the team. Was that important to you?
"It was fundamental. If I achieved my dream this year, it is because hundreds of people have worked relentlessly behind the scenes. Everybody has given that little bit extra that made the difference. So I told them over the radio: we are all champions. I meant it."

You had a strange season – very aggressive in the opening races, then conservative in the summer. Was it difficult to drive like that?
"Honestly? Yes. But I had to think about the big prize. I could have taken risks to win each race, but I had to think about the wider picture. We made a good start to the year, then controlled the performance during the summer."

What did that mean, in reality?
"Managing situations differently. With Montoya in Brazil and Silverstone, I lifted off because of the championship. But that all changed in Suzuka and China..."

Was that maneuver on Michael Schumacher in Japan your best of the year?
"For sure. It was a big risk move, maybe too much in fact, but very satisfying."

How satisfying was the performance in China?
"It was great because we won, we beat McLaren on their level and were up there when we needed to be. Before, they were ahead because we were defending the championship. Then we took more risks with the chassis and engine and showed we were equal."

Since the end of the season, some have suggested you were not the best driver this season. How does that affect you?
"I think it is normal, because people always say this at the end of a championship. When Hakkinen won with McLaren, they said Michael was best but he did not have the car. It was the same with Senna in the 1990s, when Williams dominated but it was said Senna would have won in that car. But to win, you need to be in the best car, at the best moment: it is a combination. This year was the moment, the right car was the Renault, and the driver is me."

So what’s next for you?
"I do one day of testing in Spain, to find about the 2006 engine power, then we begin with the new car in January. I am taking nothing for granted because every team starts from zero again, but I think we are preparing very well at the moment." Renault

Honda’s Otmar Szafnauer talks engines and aspirations Honda’s Otmar Szafnauer talks engines and aspirationsAs Vice President of Honda Racing Development, Otmar Szafnauer has a major role in the mapping out of Honda’s future in Formula One. Speaking to BARHondaF1.com, he answers a wide range of questions covering his integral role within the company, Honda’s F1 aspirations and the Honda Racing F1 Team’s current test program.

What is your role as Vice President, Honda Racing Development?
“In essence I fulfill three different and very distinct functions for HRD. Firstly, I’m the Honda representative to the FIA in Formula 1, which means going to the Engine Working Group meetings for example. Secondly, I am the Honda spokesman at all the official FIA press conferences as well as representing Honda to all the non-Japanese media. Thirdly, my role and function within the organization is as a management board member of Honda Racing F1 Team. As a management board member we make the big picture decisions that help shape the future direction of the team. I also act as a personal advisor to Mr. Wada, President of HRD.”

From the fans’ perspective, what will be the main differences to the team now Honda has acquired full ownership?
“The main difference will be in terms of the team’s financial stability and the availability of greater resources from Honda so we can become even more competitive. The new state-art-of-the wind tunnel is just one example; this will be ready by the middle of next year. With that, as well as all of the other Honda resources now at our disposal, the fans will see a more a competitive team in the future capable of race wins and challenging for world championship titles.”
HRD is based in Bracknell, 60 miles away from the Honda Racing F1 Team’s headquarters in Brackley. Now that Honda fully owns the team are there any plans to incorporate the engine facility into the main site?
“We’ve investigated that option but, at this time, there are no plans to transfer HRD to Brackley. It will stay in Bracknell, which after all is not that far away. Besides, when we start supplying engines to more than one team in the future, it could make more sense for HRD to remain separated from the Honda Racing F1 Team factory at Brackley. In the short term at least, we have no plans of relocating HRD.”

Honda’s recent investment clearly underlines the company’s long-term commitment to Formula One?
“Honda is committed to motor racing at the highest levels be that in Formula 1 or in MotoGP and, that’s because racing at the international pinnacle of our sport is part of our DNA. Mr. Honda, the founder of the company, was once asked: ‘why go racing on the Isle of Man rather than focusing first on winning in Japan’. His answer was that if Honda wins on the Isle of Man, the most prestigious motorcycle racing of that era, by definition Honda will be the best in Japan. His vision was always to compete at the very highest levels and win there and that ethos is still very much part of Honda today.” zzzz

As you’ve said, Honda is clearly very proud of its past and present international motor sport pedigree. Why is competition such an important part of the company’s DNA?
“In addition to what I’ve already said above, it’s important to remember that our founder Soichiro Honda was a racer first and only thereafter a motor cycle and car producer. It’s amazing to me how that original corporate culture has lasted all these years and continues to do so today. It comes from the importance you place on racing and the type of people the company hires; it has always attracted people who enjoy the spirit of competition.”

In a recent interview on this site Yasuhiro Wada suggested that the new engine regulations would favor restricted V10s rather than the new generation of V8s; do you share his feelings and what can be done between now and Bahrain to rectify the problem?
“The FIA has reserved the right to change and reset the maximum crankshaft rotational speed of the V10 at any time and they’ve said the V10 would never have an advantage over the V8. However, as it stands today with the initial rev limit and air restrictor, there’s no question that the V10 is superior to the V8 in terms of performance. The FIA, though, does reserve the right to make changes without notice and, as it has been advocating V8 for both safety and cost reasons, I am confident the current imbalance will be sorted out before the start of next season.”

We’ve mentioned the V8 powered Concept car already. Are you pleased with its performance to date?
“The good news is we are already out there testing, not so much for performance but for powertrain reliability; we can do that by fusing next year’s engine and gearbox onto the front half of last year’s race car. If you look at it from that perspective, both gearbox and engine have been reliable, which is what you hope for. Obviously you go testing so that if you can find problems and then go through the design cycle again… although you’re hoping that’s not the situation. We believe the Concept car gives us the best of both worlds: it lets us test the engine early so we can fix any issues before we go racing and this approach also allows the aero department to bring the new car out as late as possible. There’s no sense in the engine and gearbox, which are the two most technically complex parts of the package, waiting for the rest of the car to be ready and the designers need as much time as possible to find the best solutions. The hybrid car lets us achieve both these objectives.”

Finally, and perhaps most crucially, when does Honda expect to start winning in Formula One?
“Our aim is to start winning races in 2006 and a championship in 2007 – that’s our goal. The new wind-tunnel comes on stream during next season which should help us with development during the latter stages of 2006 as well as with the design of the 2007 car. Our objectives are somewhat based around those timings.” Source Honda

MF1 Racing hits testing trail MF1 Racing hits testing trailThe new MF1 racing squad has Thomas Biagi, Nicky Pastorelli, Jeffrey van Hooydonk, Tiago Monteiro, Christijan Albers and Markus Winkelhock all testing with the team at Jerez. The team is running in its new red white and silver livery for the first time. BMW Sauber, Ferrari, Honda, McLaren, Red Bull, Renault, Toyota and Williams are also testing at the Spanish test circuit this week.

MF1 Racing's new colors

Williams signs extended Concorde Agreement Williams signs extended Concorde AgreementWilliamsF1 today announced that it has agreed to enter into an extended Concorde Agreement with Formula One’s commercial rights holder (FOM) and the sport’s governing body (FIA), confirming the team’s commitment to Formula One beyond 2008.

WilliamsF1 has agreed to become a signatory to the new Concorde Agreement after confirming that the commercial rights holder, FOM, had agreed to an improved distribution of commercial revenues among participating teams. In addition, significant progress had been made in securing important undertakings from the sport’s governing body, the FIA, which will underpin the successful long term governance of Formula One. The agreement commits one of the most successful names in the sport’s history to Formula One after 2008, and is an important step towards protecting against a divisive split that could undermine motor racing’s premier series.

Williams now intends to work with Formula One’s established governing body and commercial rights holder to ensure that any further concerns regarding the future of the sport are addressed from within, in a cooperative and consensual manner and in the long term interests of all the sport’s teams, sponsors and fans.

Williams acknowledges the important role the manufacturers and teams have played in recent months to precipitate a healthy debate about the future of Formula One. Reflecting on reaching agreement with FOM and the FIA, Williams’ Team Principal Frank Williams said, “The manufacturers and teams have been a catalyst for a number of far reaching changes to the economics and administration of Formula One. We believe that the time has now come for everybody to remove the damaging uncertainty hanging over our sport and to commit to Formula One after 2008. I hope our decision will encourage the remainder of the Formula One community to join us and resolve any final details by working together. We all have a duty to avoid a damaging split in our sport and I believe the undertakings we have from FOM and the FIA provide a fair basis for bringing everyone together in the interests of the sport.”

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Heidfeld - 'I'm no number 1'
Honda calm V8-V10 fear
Schu's short break
CVC eye total F1 buyout
New starts at Grove
Vodafone to flee Ferrari
It's time to win - JB, Honda
V8 swap to benefit Renault
Heidfeld 'healed'
V10 lacks power - Liuzzi
Honda HQ to stay put
2006 lineup - update 2006 lineup - updateUpdated driver/team lineup for 2006.

No. 1 Fernando Alonso (Spain)
No. 2 Giancarlo Fisichella (Italy)
Test Heikki Kovalainen (Finland)

No. 3 Kimi Raikkonen (Finland)
No. 4 Juan Pablo Montoya (Colombia)
Test Pedro de la Rosa (Spain)
*Test Alex Wurz (Austria)
**Test Gary Paffett (England)

No. 5 Michael Schumacher (Germany)
No. 6 Felipe Massa (Brazil)
Test Luca Badoer
Test Marc Gene

No. 7 Ralf Schumacher (Germany)
No. 8 Jarno Trulli (Italy)
Test Ricardo Zonta (Brazil)
Test Olivier Panis (France)

No. 9 Mark Webber (Australia)
No.10 Nico Rosberg (Germany)
*'Friday' Narain Karthikeyan (India)
**Test Andy Priaulx (Britain)

No.11 Rubens Barrichello (Brazil)
No.12 Jenson Button (England)
*'Friday' Anthony Davidson (England)
**Test Nelson Piquet Jr (Brazil)

No.14 David Coulthard (Scotland)
No.15 Christian Klien (Austria)
'Friday' Robert Doornbos (Holland)

No.16 Nick Heidfeld (Germany)
No.17 Jacques Villeneuve (Canada)
*'Friday' Alex Wurz

*No.18 Tiago Monteiro (Portugal)
No.19 Christijan Albers (Holland)
'Friday' Nicky Pastorelli (Holland)
*unconfirmed by team

*No.20 Vitantonio Liuzzi (Italy)
*No.21 Scott Speed (United States)
'Friday' Neel Jani (Switzerland)
*assigned numbers not confirmed by team

**Takuma Sato (Japan)
**Anthony Davidson (England)
**Kosuke Matsuura (Japan)
*team not granted official FIA entry

Zwolsman to test Champ Car at Sebring Zwolsman to test Champ Car at SebringUPDATE Official Press Release: After getting a taste of life behind the wheel of a Champ Car in November, Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama 2005 series champion Charles Zwolsman will get a chance to showcase more of his skills in a 750-horsepower machine later this month.

Zwolsman, the 26-year-old Dutch sensation who captured the Atlantic crown as a rookie this season, will test for the Mi-Jack Conquest Racing Champ Car team December 13-14 at Florida’s Sebring International Raceway. The test will mark the second Champ Car experience for Zwolsman, who turned in an impressive debut performance competing for Team Australia at the Champ Car season finale at Mexico City in early November.

“We’ve been talking to the (Mi-Jack Conquest Racing) team for a while now and I’m really happy to get the chance to test for them,” said Zwolsman. “They’re a good team and I like working with them and I’m looking at it like I’ve got two days in the car to gain as much experience as I can. Of course, you always hope that you’re quick because that can only improve your chances for making something happen for next season.”

After signing on to compete with Condor Motorsports just a couple of weeks before the first Atlantic race of the season in Long Beach this year, Zwolsman proved his talent from the outset while producing a remarkable season in North America’s top open-wheel development category. The native of Lelystad, Netherlands came from the back of the starting grid to earn a third-place finish on the streets of Long Beach in his Atlantic debut. He won his first series pole position and scored a flag-to-flag victory at Monterrey, Mexico in just his second race and he would add a pair of wins in Cleveland on his way to claiming the ’05 Atlantic title.

Leading all Atlantic drivers with five poles and eight podium finishes in 12 events this season, Zwolsman earned the opportunity to prove what he could do in a Champ Car when he edged Estonian racer Tonis Kasemets for the series championship. Champ Car and Team Australia rewarded Zwolsman’s efforts with a test session and one-race ride at the Gran Premio Tecate/Telmex Presented by Banamex in Mexico City, November 4-6. Zwolsman did his part, performing admirably without the benefit of much Champ Car seat time to claim a 13th-place finish at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez road course. zzzz 

"Charles did a great job this season both in Atlantics and in his Champ Car debut at Mexico City," said Eric Bachelart, co-owner of Mi-Jack Conquest Racing, which is expanding its efforts to include a two-car Atlantic team in 2006. "We are always anxious to give young and talented drivers like Charles an opportunity to show what they can do at the Champ Car level. Charles has proven to be a very fast and determined racer and it will be interesting to see how he performs with two full days of Champ Car testing with the team."

Zwolsman will spend time this week at the Mi-Jack Conquest Racing headquarters in Indianapolis, getting fitted for a seat in the team’s Champ Car and preparing for the upcoming test session.

12/05/05 Champ Car Atlantic champion Charles Zwolsman, from Holland, will test a Champ Car for Conquest Racing on December 12th in Sebring. He will be testing alongside Belgian driver Jan Heylen, 2005 Eurocup Mégane Trophy champion.

“This test is a great chance for me to gain more experience in the Champ Car World Series," said Zwolsman. "For this reason I am very glad that team boss Eric Bachelart has given me this chance. Champ Car sits clearly in my future. Money plays an important role as the series becomes more competitive with much international world class drivers. My Management Team of Rick Gorne has already managed many drivers, such as Mark Gené, Anthony Davidson, Jean Alesi, Alex Zanardi, Gil de Ferran, and all have been successful. Gorne has many good contacts in the Champ Car World Series and he is very busy trying to find me a good Champ Car team for 2006.”

Grand-Am testing at Homestead - Day 2 Grand-Am testing at Homestead - Day 2
Wilson and Allmendinger to drive in Rolex 24 Wilson and Allmendinger to drive in Rolex 24UPDATE Teleconference transcript. 12/06/05 Looking to get a head start on their third seasons in the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, RuSPORT teammates A.J. Allmendinger (#10 Red Bull/Western Union Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) and Justin Wilson (#9 CDW/Intel/San Disk Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) will join Michael Shank Racing’s Rolex Sports Car Series squad for the 2006 Rolex 24 at Daytona

Allmendinger and Wilson both posted their best Champ Car results in 2005, helping the second-year RuSPORT team become the first second-year squad in series history to put two drivers in the top five in year-end points. The two drivers made their announcement today from Homestead-Miami Speedway where they participated in the first day of testing for the Rolex 24.

The RuSPORT duo will join former Champ Car Atlantic Series competitors Michael Shank Racing for the twice-around-the-clock endurance event January 26-29, piloting a Lexus-Riley Daytona Prototype with teammates Mark Patterson and Oswaldo Negri. The event will be the first Rolex 24 appearance for both drivers, although Wilson has some endurance experience on his resume, having competed in the 12 Hours of Sebring as well as the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans.

“He (Wilson) has a lot more experience in this kind of setting, so I think I will follow his and Oz’s lead as far as getting the car set up for the race,” said Allmendinger. “I am also excited about going up against the drivers we will be racing—not just all the guys from Nextel and Champ Car, but you also have to remember that guys like (Luis) Diaz, (Scott) Pruett and (Max) Angelelli are really fast and know these cars, so it is going to be very competitive.”

Wilson comes off a 2005 season that saw him score his first two Champ Car wins with victories at Toronto and Mexico City, wins that propelled him to a third-place finish in the series points. He made his 24-hour endurance debut in 2004 running the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the Jan Lammers Dome/Judd, posting race laps behind only those carded by the dominant Audi squad.

“The pressure and commitment of a 24 hour race make it more fun,” said Wilson. “In this kind of racing you have to make compromises with the other drivers, and try to get the car so that everyone can be fast instead of setting it up solely to your liking. It’s a whole new environment for us and I am looking forward to working with the team. Everyone has recommended the team quite highly, and I know they were good in Atlantics and have done a good job of coming over to sportscar racing.”

This will be the third time that the former Atlantic team has competed in America’s longest endurance race, posting a fourth-place finish in the Daytona Prototype class in 2004. MSR joined the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series on a full-time basis in 2004.

A1 Grand Prix
A1 Grand Prix Announces U.S. Television Deal with OLN A1 Grand Prix Announces U.S. Television Deal with OLNThe A1 Grand Prix of Nations, the new ‘World Cup of Motorsport’, announced today a television deal with the cable network OLN in the U.S. market. The TV package, which is the first in the U.S. for the new global racing series, will begin immediately with OLN showcasing the earlier races from this season’s championship. The next OLN A1 race will be Saturday, December 10, at 6 p.m. ET, when the network will feature the third round from Circuito Estoril in Portugal, where A1 Team USA placed 4th in this spectacular event. OLN will continue to televise the remaining races, culminating with the A1 Grand Prix of Nations in Shanghai, China on April 2, 2006.

The prospect of more than 60 million American fans being able to watch the A1 Grand Prix Series on national TV in the United States is something that A1 Team USA owner Rick Weidinger is excited about.

“This U.S. television deal enables us to introduce A1 Grand Prix and A1 Team USA to a larger and expanded audience. It is now time for Americans to be able to watch on television what the rest of the world has already embraced-the A1 Grand Prix of Nations,” said Weidinger. “If you are a race fan, it’s not hard to get excited about this format of nation versus nation and truly get enthused for the pride of your country. When people around America tune in to watch the A1 Grand Prix, they will be able to support the same team, A1 Team USA, no matter where they are from. It’s about patriotism, pride and entertainment all wrapped up into one dramatic competition. It is perfect for the American fan.”

Weidinger, who has paved the way for this exciting partnership, went on to add, “We are looking forward to the build up in the coverage package and viewership as we approach the race in the United States on March 19, 2006 at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. We hope to create a real home-field advantage for A1 Team USA when the series comes to our home with the 24 other represented nations.”  zzzz

The prospect of working with OLN, whose success with their newly acquired National Hockey League package has generated a lot of interest in sports television, is of particular interest to Weidinger. Both are aimed squarely at the continued growth of this series and the racing market in general in the U.S.

“OLN is a great partner who will support and promote our exciting new motorsports product that competes globally over six continents. When you look at their strategy and what they have been able to do with hockey in such a short time frame, you can’t help but be truly positive about this endeavor,” added the Team USA owner. “They have a subscriber base of more than 60 million, adding to the potential to reach 80 percent of the world’s population with our series. It’s truly a nice match and we are looking forward to showing Americans the world-class sporting events they have been missing.”

OLN is also enthusiastic about today’s announcement and the future of a partnership with a fresh, young organization like the A1 Grand Prix of Nations.

”Motorsports are playing an increasingly important role at OLN,” said Victoria Quoss, Vice President of Acquisitions and Scheduling. “The addition of a unique event like the A1 Grand Prix will bring new fans to the network and enhance OLN’s role as a destination for motorsports programming.”

A1 Team USA is fresh from a top-ten finish with driver Bryan Herta at Round 5 of the A1 Grand Prix calendar in Malaysia. The team will head out this week to the Dubai Autodrome circuit in Dubai, U.A.E. to build on that momentum for race 6 of 12 on December 11. For more information about A1 Team USA and all the latest news and results, visit the team’s website at www.A1TeamUSA.com

OLN is the leader in competitive and adrenaline-charged content. Now in 63.3 million homes, OLN is the cable home of the National Hockey League and best-in-class events like The Tour de France, The America’s Cup, Professional Bull Riders (PBR), the Boston Marathon and USSA Skiing. The network offers unique programming in four primary areas: Action Sports, Field Sports, Bulls & Rodeo and Awe-Inspiring Series, and is the exclusive home of Survivor in syndication. OLN, a wholly owned company of Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCSA, CMCSK), is distributed via cable systems and satellite operators throughout the United States.

The upcoming television schedule for the A1 Grand Prix of Nations on OLN is as follows, with the U.K. and Germany rounds of the championship having been previously aired.

A1 Team USA 2005-2006 OLN Television Schedule As of December 6th, 2005
Date Race Time
December 10, 2005 Estoril, Portugal 6 PM
December 11, 2005 Eastern Creek, Australia 11 PM
December 17, 2005 Sepang, Malaysia 6 PM
December 18, 2005 Dubai, U.A.E. 11 PM
January 21, 2006 Sentul, Indonesia 6 PM
January 23, 2006 Indonesia (re-broadcast) 3 PM
February 4, 2006 Durban, South Africa 6 PM
February 6, 2006 South Africa (re-broadcast) 3 PM
February 18, 2006 Curtiba, Brazil 6 PM
February 20, 2006 Brazil (re-broadcast) 3 PM
February 26, 2006 Monterrey, Mexico 6 PM
February 27, 2006 Mexico (re-broadcast) 3 PM
March 19, 2006 Laguna Seca, California 7 PM
March 20, 2006 Laguna Seca (re-broadcast) 3 PM
April 2, 2006 Shanghai, China 3 PM
April 3, 2006 China (re-broadcast) 3 PM
Note: All times Eastern Standard Time. Telecasts two hours in length.

New Atlantic engine to approach F1 piston speeds New Atlantic engine to approach F1 piston speedsTo produce the required power of 300 HP from a 2.3-liter Ford production engine for the new Champ Car Atlantic car meant increasing the engine speed from a maximum of 6,500 rpm to 8,500 rpm and this meant the piston speed approached the outer limits, close to F1 piston speeds. "Piston speed was very much the limitation," Cosworth's Bruce Wood acknowledged. "It's a pretty long stroke engine and at 8,500 rpm the piston speed is pretty much at the limit of where you want to be. That is definitely the absolute rev limit. We've had a lot of discussion about the over-rev limit.

"Getting three hundred horsepower is always ambitious out of a road engine," Wood observed. "It's a long time since we've taken a road engine and turned it into a reasonably high-output race engine. The task of taking the 900 horsepower, 16,000 rpm XF engine and detuning it to 750 HP and 12,000 rpm was in many ways easier than taking a road engine and trying to wind it up to make peak power at 8,500 rpm. In many ways it's been a very challenging project.

"We made the 300 HP reasonably early. That wasn't difficult to achieve. The part that's been the most arduous is all the little bits on a road engine which are subject to breakage when used in a racing situation. We discovered that there were so many parts on the road engine that were not appropriate for a high-speed engine. A lot of pieces we started with were standard road engine bits and to assess whether they would last meant running engines on the dyno. So the biggest problem has been the quantity of parts we had to change that we perhaps weren't planning on changing." ChampCar.ws
American Speed to race in USGP American Speed to race in USGPAmerican Scott Speed will drive for Scuderia Toro Rosso in the United States Grand Prix on July 2 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and in all 19 races in the 2006 FIA Formula One World Championship.

Speed, 22, will be the first American to race in F1 since Michael Andretti competed in most of the 1993 season with McLaren-Ford. Speed also will become the first American to race in his home Grand Prix since 1998 Indianapolis 500 winner Eddie Cheever finished third in the 1989 United States Grand Prix in Phoenix.

"In a word, fantastic," Speed said. "It's certainly a feeling of excitement. To bring F1 closer to the American public is exciting.

"It's going to be incredible to be on the grid in America and at Indy with all of the support behind me. I'm really looking forward to it."

Red Bull confirmed Dec. 6 that Speed and Italy's Tonio Liuzzi will drive for its junior team, Scuderia Toro Rosso (Italian for Red Bull) in 2006. This is the former Minardi team now owned by Red Bull. Switzerland's Neel Jani will be the team's third/reserve driver. All three drivers are products of Red Bull's junior driver program, as Speed won the Red Bull Driver Search in 2002. zzzz

Speed, from Manteca, Calif., finished third behind Nico Rosberg and Heikki Kovalainen in the inaugural GP2 championship in 2005. GP2 is the final stepping-stone before Formula One on the European racing ladder.

Speed is the latest on the list of talented Americans who have competed in F1 since 1950. Phil Hill, who in 1961 became the first driver from the United States to win the World Championship, and 1969 Indianapolis 500 winner and 1978 World Champion Mario Andretti head the list. Other prominent Americans in F1 included 1972 Indianapolis 500 winner Mark Donohue, 1985 Indianapolis 500 winner Danny Sullivan, Cheever, Michael Andretti, Dan Gurney, Peter Revson, Richie Ginther, George Follmer, Jim Hall, Ronnie Bucknum and Bob Bondurant.

Born on Jan. 24, 1983, in San Jose, Calif., Speed competed in his first kart race in 1993 and won his first national karting title in 1995. In 2002, he was nominated to join Red Bull's Driver Search Program. Speed suffered through a tough season hampered by colitis, a digestive tract illness, in British Formula 3 in 2003 but rebounded to win both the German and Eurocup Formula Renault Championships in 2004.

He has tested an F1 car for Red Bull several times, and in 2005 he drove the third Red Bull in the Friday practice session of the United States Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"There's been so much hard work, so much we've had to overcome and with the disease I had, and I say 'we' because I had a great group of people supporting me," Speed said. "To be an American in F1, it took so much work to move here and prove to people that I belonged, and the work is just starting.

"It's one step closer to my goal of being World Champion."

Schumacher to cut vacation short Schumacher to cut vacation shortSeven-times world champion Michael Schumacher will cut short his holiday and resume testing with Ferrari next week, the Formula One team said on Tuesday.

A spokesman said it would be the first time since 1998 that the German had reported back to work between the end of the season and the New Year but denied there were any special reasons.

"He said to us that he was available and we thought it would be helpful," he said. "It's nothing major."

Schumacher will test in Jerez on Dec. 15 and 16. Ferrari's new car is not due to be formally unveiled until the second half of January.
Williams signs shaver deal Williams signs shaver dealPhilips shavers has today announced a partnership deal to become Male Shaving Partner of the WilliamsF1 Team in 2006. The deal offers Philips marketing opportunities specifically designed to drive sales and position Philips shavers as the premier male shaver brand to the Formula One audience, estimated at 162 million per Grand Prix.

Through this program, Philips shavers will be able to exercise various rights as an official sponsor at over 19 Formula One Grands Prix. These rights will be key in supporting local country activation events for retail partners and consumers. Philips shavers will be able to use the combined partner logo, WilliamsF1 images and archive materials for marketing purposes.

The partnership is supported by specific designed Philips and WilliamsF1 shavers, which are scheduled for release in 2006. zzzz

Like WilliamsF1, Philips shavers prides itself on its advances in innovation, design and technology. WilliamsF1 is dedicated to furthering the pursuit of excellence and developing equipment which exceeds every performance demand from its drivers. Similarly, Philips shavers have always been at the forefront of innovation in their field of expertise, leading the way with revolutionary design, cutting edge technology and consumer-centric vision.

With 66 years of heritage in the shaving category and 450 million shavers sold, Philips is a ground-breaking leader in the shaving market. The inventor of rotary shaving, Philips has been responsible for many category-breaking innovations that have set new standards for the consumer to experience.

The WilliamsF1 Team is one of the most successful Formula One teams in the history of the sport. With a proven pedigree, the WilliamsF1 Team has won 16 World Championships titles in just 28 years, including nine Constructors’ Championships, seven Drivers’ Championships and 113 victories.

“We are delighted to have formed this partnership with an internationally acknowledged brand and market leader,” said Frank Williams. “I hope the association with WilliamsF1 will augment and contribute to the continuous growth of the Phillips Shaver brand.”

Andrea Ragnetti, CEO, Philips Domestic Appliances & Personal Care added….

“Philips mission is to improve the quality of people’s lives through technological innovations, and aims to do this by working with strategic partners who support breakthrough technology and WilliamsF1 demonstrate these brand values.”

Nico Engelsman, Senior Vice President Philips Domestic Appliances & Personal Care and Business Manager at Philips Shavers, concluded:

“WilliamsF1 is one of the most important names in sport and we are extremely pleased to have created a partnership with them. It gives us an enormous amount of pride to be named as the Male Shaving Partner of the WilliamsF1 Team.”

Scuderia Toro Rosso announces driver lineup Scuderia Toro Rosso announces driver lineupTonio Liuzzi, Scott Speed and Neel Jani will drive for Scuderia Toro Rosso next year, when it contests its first season in Formula One.  Italian Formula One driver Tonio and American GP2 star Scott will race for the team, while 21-year-old Neel will be its test and reserve driver, performing Friday driving duties at each race of the season.  With an average driver age of just 23, it's a scary thought that, as rookies, Speed and Jani will be looking up to Liuzzi as the 'veteran' of the team! All three drivers are products of the Red Bull Junior Team.
Middle East beckons McIntosh Middle East beckons McIntoshHaving sampled tests in GP2 and World Series by Renault cars in the past two weeks, Sean McIntosh returns to his Team Canada racer this weekend, 9th-11th December, as the inaugural A1 Grand Prix of Nations hits the halfway stage with Round 6 hosted at the 5.39km Dubai Autodrome in the United Arab Emirates.

A1 Grand Prix’s first visit to the Middle East also marks something of a homecoming for the championship as it was in Dubai in March 2004, at the opening of the state-of-the-art Autodrome, that series founder Sheikh Maktoum first unveiled his plans for an international motorsport formula pitting nation against nation throughout the traditional ‘off-season’.  That dream is now a reality with the series already visiting the UK, Germany, Portugal, Malaysia and Australia before Sunday’s spectacular in Dubai.

For Team Canada’s Sean McIntosh this weekend’s Sprint and Feature races offer an opportunity for the 20-year-old from Vancouver to learn yet another new circuit while adding to his record of five top-ten starts and five top-ten finishes, including Canada’s first A1GP podium in the Feature race at the EuroSpeedway in Germany. zzzz

“I can’t wait to get back into the Team Canada car in Dubai,” McIntosh enthused.  “Our last race in Malaysia feels like a long time ago and I’ve been waiting for this opportunity to get back behind the wheel and continue to demonstrate the pace we were showing last month.  It was great to come back to Europe and test the GP2 and World Series by Renault cars but my focus is set firmly on improving Team Canada’s standing in the A1 series.”

He continued, “I’m looking forward to learning the track during Friday’s practice sessions.  The conditions will no doubt change as the weekend progresses and the sand, I’m sure, will be an ever-present factor.  That will be the same for everyone though; our goal this weekend simply has to be to put together a complete package with two quick qualifying runs on Saturday and two points scoring races on Sunday.  I’m confident we can achieve this and put Team Canada back into the top-ten heading into the second half of the season.”

Team Canada currently sits just outside the top-ten in the Nations Standings in 11th place on 20 points.  Team France leads the 25-strong field of nations with 92 points courtesy of eight consecutive victories.  Sunday’s races can be viewed live or on-demand in Canada by logging on to: www.a1gp.com

A busy afternoon in F1 A busy afternoon in F1The sound of formula one engines aside, Tuesday proved to be a busy day in the so-called winter off-season.

At long last, the ever-humorous Red Bull PR department unleashed the news that Austrian incumbent Christian Klien, 22, will line-up at the senior team alongside veteran David Coulthard in 2006.

The energy drink-owned team's witty statement began: 'Elvis Presley will not drive for Red Bull Racing.  Now we have your attention, we are pleased to announce something you probably guessed already ...'

Christian Klien enthused: ''I'm still a young driver and can learn a lot from David, although like every racing driver, I'm keen to beat my team-mate on the track.''

A little later, the official line-up for 'Scuderia Toro Rosso' - the former Minardi team now also owned by Red Bull - was also completed.  As widely predicted, Vitantonio Liuzzi and Scott Speed will do the racing, with Switzerland's 21-year-old Neel Jani in the Friday car.

''With an average driver age of just 23, it's a scary thought that, as rookies, Speed and Jani will be looking up to Liuzzi as the 'veteran' of the team,'' another amusing Red Bull press statement quipped.

Over at Williams' Oxfordshire HQ in Grove, it was revealed that Jordan refugee Narain Karthikeyan - the first Indian to race in F1 - would test for the team at Jerez (Spain) this week.

The newly Cosworth-powered team is yet to name a driver to steer the 'Friday' car in 2006, although 28-year-old Karthikeyan's name - and his $5m sponsorship haul - has headed the list for some time.

Technical director Sam Michael insisted: ''Narain will be in Jerez to help us with normal testing duties.''

Meanwhile, at Woking in Surrey - also in the UK - McLaren played down speculation that key aerodynamicist Nicholas Tombazis is about to follow Adrian Newey through the exit.

''We will not be replacing Adrian,'' said a spokeswoman, ''and ... Nicolas remains working on aerodynamics with McLaren.''

And finally, but certainly not least importantly, new F1 owner 'CVC' announced that it had convinced a second of three banks - America's JP Morgan - to sell its 10 per cent share in the sport.

Pending final approvals, CVC will thus own 86 per cent, with only Lehman to go.

Industry News
Subaru might build Toyotas Subaru might build ToyotasTop executives at Toyota Motor Corp. and the owner of Subaru, Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., have discussed building Toyota vehicles at a Subaru factory in Indiana, a Toyota spokesman said Monday. But the spokesman declined to confirm a report Monday by the Kyodo News agency that said Fuji has agreed to manufacture 100,000 Toyota Camry midsize sedans a year at the Subaru plant in Lafayette beginning as early as 2007.
Red Bull finalizes lineup Red Bull finalizes lineupRed Bull Racing has confirmed today that 22-year-old Christian Klien will be its second driver for the 2006 season, when he will drive a Ferrari-powered RB2 alongside teammate David Coulthard.

With David already confirmed as the team's number one driver and Robert Doornbos confirmed as the team's test driver, the announcement finalizes the team's line up for the start of the 2006 season.

Austrian driver Christian Klien said: "It's great that I'm going to be driving for Red Bull Racing again in 2006. Next year is really only the start for this team, I think it's got a great future ahead of it and to be able to be part of that is really exciting. I'm definitely looking to improve next year and get more points. It's good to continue working with David as well, I'm still a young driver and can learn a lot from him, although like every racing driver, I'm keen to beat my teammate on the track."

Q and A with McLaren protégé Lewis Hamilton Q and A with McLaren protégé Lewis HamiltonMcLaren recently caught up with McLaren and Mercedes-Benz supported driver Lewis Hamilton at home in Hertfordshire, UK as he took part in a photo shoot for McLaren Group magazine, Racing Line. Whilst the photographer set up his lights, we took the opportunity to ask the F3 Euro Series Championship winner about his incredible season.

Can you sum up how this season has been for you?

“It has been the best season for me in terms of my professional career. I have won more races in a season when I was karting, but in terms of being the most satisfying, this has definitely been the year. At the beginning of the season I never expected to do so well and to win 13 out of the 18 races and the championship.”

Yes, you have dominated the championship this year. How did you rate your championship rivals?

“I have been up against some very good drivers this year. My team mate Adrian Sutil is the strongest team mate I have ever had and really pushed me hard all season. This year I have also been competing against drivers like Franck Perera who was a world champion in karting and is also a Toyota development driver.”

 What was your favorite race of the season and why?

“ Monaco definitely. When I was growing up and watching Formula One, I used to watch the Monaco race and it was my dream to race on that circuit. The drivers I looked up to such as Ayrton Senna and Mika Hakkinen, when I saw them going through the tunnel, I always tried to imagine what that might be like. It was wicked when I drove through the tunnel this year, and it is so different driving through there in a road car as opposed to a race car.”

 “It was quite a dramatic race. I touched the barriers at one point, and after that the car didn’t feel quite the same so I had to take it a little bit easier for the remainder of the race as I didn’t want to damage the car any more. Also, to be in a support race which was part of a grand prix weekend and have all the other teams – including McLaren – there watching was a really good feeling.” zzzz

What skills do you think you have developed as a driver this year?

“I think I had built on the skills I already have, and this year have really brushed off the rough edges. I really have been getting the best out of myself this season in terms of increasing my knowledge of the car, and increasing my technical understanding in terms of set-up has definitely improved.

“My mental preparation has also definitely improved. After 12 years of racing I don’t have a set routine I follow in terms of mentally preparing myself for a race, but there are a number of things that I do, such as focus my mind which means pushing other thoughts outside of racing away and I do try to relax ahead of a race as much as possible.

“There are also certain things you can do when you get to the track to prepare, from the way you get yourself strapped into the car, the way you put your helmet on etc. This year the added concentration and focus I have has I believe really helped me to win races.”

Away from the racetrack, what do you like to do to relax?

“I like spending time with my friends. I don’t have a wide circle of friends, but I do have a small group of really close mates and spending time with them is great. I also like spending time with my brother and playing my guitar and music is a hobby that I really enjoy.

“My family is a big part of my life and I also enjoy just spending time with them at home. I also like to spend time with my girlfriend.”

Do you get nervous before races?

“I don’t get mentally nervous, but I do get physically nervous, if you know what I mean! In my mind I do not feel nervous and I know I can go out on to the track and do well, but I do display the physical signs of being nervous. I think that is just my body getting itself ready for the fast reactions that are required in racing as the adrenaline starts to pump. I do think though that it is quite good to feel slightly nervous ahead of a race as it really gets you ready to go.”

Do you have a regular fan following?

“There are a number of people who comes to the races and ask for autographs. In Germany especially the fans seem to always want to come and talk to me. I do like meeting the fans though, it is good to give something back to them over a race weekend. I also enjoy it when people come up to me after the race to say congratulations.”

You recently went over to Frankfurt to take part in the motorshow for Mercedes-Benz, how did that go?

“It went really well, all the people involved in the organization were great, really professional. I went with current DTM driver Gary Paffett, who I have known for a long time and get on really well with. We were interviewed on stage and then spent time signing autographs. The promotional side of the job is something I enjoy.”

How has the support you receive from McLaren and Mercedes-Benz been beneficial this year?

“Well the support has not only been this year, it has been over my professional career. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them. They have really given me the opportunity to shine, to travel the world, to race and to learn so much. All this has come from then and after seven years we are still going strong. They support me and I produce the results. I am very appreciative of their support.”

Putting you on the spot Lewis, what would you say are the best three things about your job?

(Pauses for thought). “I would say the fact that I get to travel the world, meet new people and drive fast cars. That’s it!”

And finally, here are 10 things you may not know about Lewis Hamilton

Tewin, Hertfordshire

Favorite band

SMART Roadster

Dream car
McLaren F1 road car

Favorite holiday destination
Cancun, Mexico

Favorite driver on the F1 grid
Kimi Raikkonen

If you weren’t a racing driver, what would you be?
A musician or music producer

Favorite F1 driver of all time
Ayrton Senna

Favorite racing circuit

Best race to date
Bahrain 2004. I started 22nd on the grid and went on to win the race.

Monza appeals noise protest Monza appeals noise protestSIAS, the organization that runs the famous Monza track, is fighting back with a formal appeal against recent protests over noise, based on five arguments that include, among others: errors in measuring noise levels and the omission to consider the specific laws that apply to airports and autodromes.
How F1 paddock creates controversy for free PR How F1 paddock creates controversy for free PRThe FIA and it's F1 teams know how to work the media into a tizzy and get great coverage for the sport in the off-season, unlike some racing series that go largely invisible. The latest F1 gimmick is the hoopla that the neutered V10 engine might have an advantage over the new V8's. Total BS.

Vitantonio Liuzzi, who tested with a detuned V10 engine in a Scuderia Toro Rosso car at Barcelona last week, claims that the newer engines are already faster. "The power (of the V10) compared to the 2005 configuration isn't comparable," he was quoted as saying by Autosprint. "I'd say we've lost more than 25 percent of our power. The V8s on the straight left me standing each time they went by. The positive thing is that on paper [our] engine will be more reliable."

Karthikeyan to Test for the WilliamsF1 Team Karthikeyan to Test for the WilliamsF1 TeamThe WilliamsF1 Team today confirmed that Narain Karthikeyan will join the team in Jerez, Spain, this week to assist with its winter testing program.  The 28 year old from Chennai, India, will join Williams on the first day of the three day Jerez test on Wednesday 7 December. Karthikeyan will be behind the wheel of the Williams FW27C interim chassis and will work alongside Nico Rosberg.  Karthikeyan will test for the team pending the announcement of the team’s third driver.  The WilliamsF1 Team’s Technical Director, Sam Michael, “Narain will be in Jerez to help us with normal testing duties. At this stage of development of the FW27C, we have a series of systems checks and initial set-up investigations to complete. He will be in the car on Wednesday 7 December.”  WilliamsF1
Renault’s key moments of 2005 Interlagos, part I Renault’s key moments of 2005 Interlagos, part IThe Renault team arrived in Brazil with the possibility of winning the drivers’ championship. That meant lots of pressure – but plenty of motivation as well!

The context
On arrival in Interlagos, the Renault F1 Team was full of anticipation. Fernando Alonso held a 25 point lead in the drivers’ championship over Kimi Raikkonen, and although the mathematical chance of championship victory had occurred in Belgium, two weeks earlier, this was where the Spaniard could realistically become the youngest world champion in history.

He had a simple goal – to concede no more than four points to his rival. A podium finish would bring him the crown – and his track record already showed 12 podiums in 15 races. These numbers were writ large in the team’s thoughts, as they prepared for the race.

Technical developments
With morale sky high in the Renault team, the latest technical developments gave them an added boost. A new aerodynamic package, centered around the wings and diffuser, brought an estimated gain of 0.2s per lap. That might seem little but in the world of Formula 1, it’s a big gain. The team produced the new parts in record time – with some even arriving in the suitcases of the team’s Technical Director Bob Bell, on Thursday before the race! Furthermore, the team used a new engine development in Giancarlo’s car – a D specification RS25, offering improved power output and torque curve without any penalty in terms of reliability. zzzz
The best approach?
Bob Bell spoke categorically about how the team would tackle the race weekend in Interlagos: “We want to put pressure on McLaren, it’s as simple as that.” As a result, the Renaults went for a race set-up that gave them excellent straight-line speed – to overtake backmarkers and other competitors – while remaining quite in the tight, twisty infield second sector of the track.

Free Practice
The team finished the opening practice session in 3rd and 6th, with Fernando leading the way. But as usual for a Friday, the focus wasn’t on performance, and the drivers were 10th and 11th at the end of Friday – having completed 78 laps during the day! “It is because the lap is so short here,” explained Executive Director of Engineering Pat Symonds. “We have to do a certain mileage with each set of tires to evaluate their behavior and wear, and then make our selection on the basis of the information. That’s what we did today but because the lap is so short, it looks like we did more running than was actually the case. We did our standard mileage today.” The team also proceeded with some set-up changes overnight. “The track was very slippery yesterday,” explained Bob Bell. “We made some changes and found a good balance on the cars. That is one of the strengths of the R25 – our predictions and the results at the track are usually very close.”

Following the two final practice sessions, Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso had set the two fastest times, with the Finn’s time of 1:11.929 putting him 0.181s ahead of the Spaniard’s Renault. The battle had begun.

The strategy used in Turkey to mix things up at the front of the grid had worked well, and the Renault F1 Team used a variation on this theme in Brazil. The aim was to start at the front, with a relatively light fuel load, to fight with the McLarens in the opening laps and build the gap required for the all-important podium finish. Fernando Alonso was aiming to put the pressure on Raikkonen in this decisive race, and it told in qualifying, when the Finn – pushing to the limit – locked up into turn one and lost time. That left Fernando on pole, ahead of Montoya, Giancarlo and Jenson Button’s BAR. “Now, 71 laps to go…” said Fernando as he left on Saturday night, knowing he faced one of the key moments in his career the following day. Renault F1 Team

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
McLaren lose another worker
Kimi hailed in Finland
FIA resume work on CDG wing
Fisi aims to keep '07 ride
Ferrari on 'right path'
Monteiro and Midland

Ferrari visits the Pope
DC - 'I can win again'
Date set for Schu return
Viry salute Alonso crown
Wheldon wants F1 test
'Rosberg Sr' is 57
IRL helps military in crash research IRL helps military in crash researchWe don't know whether we should laugh or cry over this one. Bottom line, the military can't get any volunteers to subject themselves to the violent impacts an IRL driver subjects themselves to, so they turn to the IRL for Guinea Pigs. Dr. Bock's statement in the next to last paragraph sums it up. It's a sad state of affairs really, to think that someone had a 'vision' and formed the IRL that has resulted in such an extensive list of drivers being injured - Sacrificial Lambs if you will.

This AP article says, Researchers at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base also use human subjects in their labs but can't duplicate the gravitational forces that drivers endure because it's too dangerous.

Joseph Pellettiere, technical adviser for the biomechanics branch of the Air Force Research Laboratory, said not only are the drivers subject to forces greater than those in the lab, but they get hit from all angles.

"They'll hit the wall. They'll flip up on the side. Sometimes they'll flip and roll over," Pellettiere said.

One thing the researchers are trying to do is help develop an ejection seat and harness for the Joint Strike Fighter, the Pentagon's next-generation, all-purpose fighter jet.

"There's always been this cloak of mystery as to head injuries and what causes head injuries," said Dr. Henry Bock, medical director of the IRL and Indianapolis 500. "We thought this would give us an opportunity since these guys crash anyway."

"These guys can hit their heads at levels that we never anticipated they would survive or walk away without concussions even," said Ted Knox, principal scientist of the lab's biomechanics branch.

Constant rules changes costing F1 teams big $$$ Constant rules changes costing F1 teams big $$$Gary Anderson has hit out at formula one's latest raft of rules. The Ulsterman, former long-time technical director at Jordan, told 'Setanta' that the carmakers could have avoided the switch to V8 power. ''They had an alternative ... in the form of a rev limiter in the V10 engines,'' he marveled, ''but they all said no.''

Anderson reckons the V10 regs, together with the two-race per engine rule, was a 'decent money saver'. But he insisted that V8 development is now bringing the check books out again: ''All that money saved is now being spent,'' Gary said, ''and it's sad.''

Toyota driver Jarno Trulli, meanwhile, sees an even more serious side-effect of relentlessly changing rules -- the decline of spectator interest.

The Italian told La Gazzetta dello Sport: ''People are getting fed up over having to study the rule changes every season. F1 Central

Grand-Am testing at Homestead - Day 1 Grand-Am testing at Homestead - Day 1
Heidfeld hails decision to keep JV Heidfeld hails decision to keep JVNick Heidfeld says that Jacques Villeneuve is a good choice for the new BMW Sauber team. "He has a lot of experience so he knows the tracks," said 'Quick Nick', who made his GP debut with Prost in 2000. Villeneuve, 34, was the world champion of 1997 with Williams. "A rookie, who has first to learn the tracks, would not be able to help develop the car," continued Heidfeld.

At the BMW party in Seefeld (Austria), Heidfeld was also asked what he thought about F1's switch from V10 to V8 power. Referring to his first Sauber test in Barcelona last week, he replied: "You've just got to adjust. The V10 was of course more fun, but 700 horse power is pretty good too."

2005 teammate Mark Webber also showed his face at the Seefeld party, and mused not only about getting used to different engine power, but a whole new engine supplier (Cosworth). Williams' 29-year old driver, explained: "I am not sure that Cosworth is going to be a problem. More crucial for us is developing a car for the Bridgestone tires."
Industry News
Germans now turn toward hybrids Germans now turn toward hybridsThis AutoWeek article says, After years of pooh-poohing hybrid technology, key German automakers are doing an about-face.

BMW AG and DaimlerChrysler AG have joined General Motors in an alliance to develop a two-mode hybrid drive. Audi, Volkswagen and Porsche have partnered to develop hybrid SUVs.

The Germans are still banking on diesel technology to improve fuel economy until hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are commercially viable. The automakers have criticized hybrids as too costly with too many technology problems.

But growing social pressures, consumer awareness and the highly trumpeted success of Toyota Motor Corp.'s hybrids have pushed the reluctant German automakers to the table. With the United States a major market for many Germans, consumer demand here can no longer be ignored.
Stewart's Brickyard win voted most dramatic Stewart's Brickyard win voted most dramaticTony Stewart's emotional victory at the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on Aug. 7 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway earned NASCAR's Most Dramatic Moment Award as voted by fans at NASCAR.com.

Stewart, an Indiana native and resident of Columbus, Ind., passed and then held off Kasey Kahne for his first victory at his beloved IMS in any type of car. Stewart has made seven Allstate 400 at the Brickyard starts and five Indianapolis 500 starts.

After the race, Stewart took a memorable victory lap around the historic 2.5-mile oval, stopping next to the SAFER Barrier in Turn 2 to celebrate with friends and family in the adjacent suites. Stewart and the Home Depot Chevrolet crew also climbed the catch fence adjacent to the famous Yard of Bricks at the start-finish line in triumph.  zzzz

Two-time NASCAR champion Stewart accepted the Most Dramatic Moment Award during the annual NASCAR banquet Dec. 2 at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York.

"This is pretty cool," Stewart said. "Obviously, everybody knows how much winning at the Brickyard this year meant to me.

"But this is great. To have the fans vote on this is a great honor, and it's neat to know that the fans appreciate the greatest day of my life as much as I did so I appreciate it."

Stewart collected $6,173,633 in awards at the annual NASCAR banquet Dec. 2. Combined with race earnings and season contingency awards, Stewart won a record $13,678,168 this season.

Formula BMW
16-year old wins Formula BMW shootout 16-year old wins Formula BMW shootout16-year old Formula BMW USA driver Robert Wickens (Canadian) scored the victory in the Formula BMW shoot-out in the Race of Champion support program last Saturday. The invitational Formula BMW race featured four Formula BMW drivers representing the four regional series; Germany, UK, Asia and USA. The event was held at the Stade de France in Paris in front of more than 50,000 spectators using the Race of Champions head-to- head format. 

Robert was the youngest of the four drivers invited by BMW Motorsport to this event that took place alongside the world's top racing drivers from all areas of the sport. His competitors were Nicolas Huelkenberg (GER), Dean Smith (GBR) and Salman Al Khalifa (BRN), the Champions of the other Formula BMW series from Germany, the UK and Asia. Finishing the 2005 Formula BMW USA season third in the Overall points and in the Rookie point standings, Robert was chosen, having shown to be one of the most consistent drivers of the season. 

In the three-lap semi-final on the 0,628 miles circuit, Robert dominated the Asian Formula BMW Champion Salman Al Khalifa. In the final round he competed against the winner of the Formula BMW UK Championship Dean Smith. A driving mistake by Dean offered an advantage to Robert and he took the win with a wide margin. 

A jubilant Robert stated, "This was the greatest experience of my life! I want to thank BMW Motorsport for giving me this amazing opportunity. It was fantastic and I never thought that I would be able to win. Heading to the World Final in Bahrain I feel more confident now to compete against the drivers of the other three series." 

After his phenomenal victory, Robert is preparing for the Formula BMW World Final in Bahrain. From December 13 to 16 Robert will compete against 35 drivers from the four Championships for a test drive with the new BMW Sauber F1 Team.

Cosworth develops new LMP1 engine Cosworth develops new LMP1 engineUPDATE AutoRacing1.com was on-site at the PRI show in Orlando last week and grabbed these photos of the new Cosworth twin-turbo V8 ALMS LMP1 engine.  Note the HP rating on the tag.

Photos by Scott Morris/AutoRacing1.com

11/04/05 We can report that Cosworth has, in the last 6 months, developed a new twin-turbo V8 engine for ALMS and LMES. The engine is making over 600 HP and passed its 24 hour dyno endurance test with flying colors. This will give Audi a good run for their money if they fund some customers.
Race of Champions
Bourdais smokes Wheldon Bourdais smokes WheldonThe term ‘off-season’ apparently has a different meaning in French than it does in English, as Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford champion Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald’s Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) has been just as busy after the season as he was during his march to the 2005 Champ Car title.

Coming off a physically-demanding run in the Baja 1000 two weeks ago, Bourdais returned to his native France to compete in the Race of Champions Saturday night. The event pits champions from around the world in equally-prepared cars, where they wage side-by-side warfare on a dirt course in Paris’ glittering Stade de France.

Bourdais, who opened the event by taking a demonstration run in his Newman/Haas Racing Champ Car, led his PlayStation France team to a second-place finish in the Nations Cup event, and advanced to the quarterfinals in the individual competition with a resounding victory over Indy Racing League titlist Dan Wheldon.

Bourdais and Dakar Rally specialist Stephane Peterhansel knocked off defending Nations Cup champions and fellow Frenchman Sebastien Loeb and Jean Alesi in the first round, with Bourdais taking two wins over Alesi. The Champ Car star followed that with two wins over Formula 1 stalwart David Coulthard to carry his team to the final. zzzz

“Winning races is the best feeling in the world, especially with the crowd behind you like they are here at the Stade de France,” Bourdais said. “I had a problem with the gearbox in the second race against David Coulthard and I could see him catching me, so that was very exciting.”

The team fell in the final to the Scandinavian pairing of seven-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen and DTM star Mattias Ekstrom, with Bourdais losing his heat to Kristensen by less than a half-second.

“I'm sorry I couldn't win for France tonight. I will just have to wait to try again next year,” said Bourdais after his defeat in the Nations Cup final. “It was very difficult for my teammate who is not really in his element on an event like this. But we did well to make it all the way to the final. First we had to beat Alesi and Loeb, and that was close. The challenge is the fact that you have to adapt so quickly to the different cars.”

Bourdais hung a 3.6-second margin-of-victory on oval specialist Wheldon in the first round of the individual event before losing by 0.226 seconds to four-time NASCAR Nextel Cup champion Jeff Gordon in the quarterfinals.

Monteiro wins Rookie Award Monteiro wins Rookie AwardMF1 Racing - the Formula One team owned and operated by Midland Group - is delighted to announce that 2005 Portuguese driver Tiago Monteiro won the prestigious 2005 Autosport.com Rookie of the Year Award, on Sunday night at the Grosvenor House Hotel, in London. In spite of serious competition from other nominees including Christijan Albers (F1), Timo Glock (Champ Car), Nico Rosberg (GP), Kyle Busch (Nextel Cup), Heikki Kovalainen (GP2), Danica Patrick (IRL) and Daniel Sordo (Junior WRC), Monteiro was elected Rookie of the Year by users of Autosport's website. In 2005, Monteiro finished 18 races out of 19, including one podium and scoring a point at the very challenging Circuit of Spa Francorchamps in difficult weather conditions.

Tiago Monteiro stated: "After such an amazing season with a lot of records and prizes, it is a honor to win this award. It is probably one of the most important ones as it reflects the best rookie all over the world in the leading motorsport categories. Therefore this is the award I wanted to win the most of all. I remember a few years ago, when I was not even racing, I was already looking at the Autosport Awards. I was dreaming of being here one day and now being elected the best rookie is overwhelming. I am very proud but I also realize you can never achieve this on your own. There are a lot of people involved. The team did an amazing job to help me go through a difficult first season and I can only thank them. I would also like to thank my family, friends and sponsors who have been supporting me throughout the years. It was also particularly important as this was the last season for Jordan and for the first time, it is also the first big award for Midland. I want to dedicate that prize to all of them."

Johnny Herbert, Sporting Relations Manager, commented: "Last night's award for Tiago was very well deserved. He did a fantastic job this year. The consistency showed that he was very good in being able to look after the car and bring it home. He was very unfortunate with the problem he had in Brazil but which was no fault of his own. I think he has just proved that he has a lot of talent especially in the races, which is the most important part of a Grand Prix weekend. Hopefully in the future this will be something he could use to his advantage to further his career in Formula One."

Ferrari gives Pope $1million Ferrari gives Pope $1millionThe chairman of Ferrari has presented the Pope with a check for 950,000 euros ($1 million) for charity and the steering wheel of a Michael Schumacher racing car.

Ferrari said chairman Luca di Montezemolo kept a promise he made to the late Pope John Paul II during an audience in January that a specially constructed 400th car of the Enzo Ferrari series would be auctioned off for charity.

The Pope was given the steering wheel of a F2004 driven by seven-time world champion Schumacher that bears the words: "The steering wheel of the Formula 1 world champion to His Holiness Benedict XVI, driver of Christianity."

Baja 1000 to air on USA TV Baja 1000 to air on USA TVThe 38th Annual Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 desert race will be broadcast Saturday, December 10 at 3 p.m. (Eastern Time, Noon Pacific) as a one-hour sports special on NBC TV. Part of the continuing coverage of the six-race 2005 SCORE Desert Series, the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 was held on Nov. 18-19, on the northern part of the rugged Baja California, Mexico, peninsula, starting and finishing in Ensenada.

SCORE on NBC 2005 Broadcast Schedule
Special of Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 – Saturday, December 10, at 3:00 p.m. ET
   Remaining SCORE on OLN 2005 Broadcast Schedule:
SCORE Las Vegas Terrible’s Cup I – Tuesday, December 6, 4 p.m. ET, 1 p.m. PT
SCORE Las Vegas Primm 300 – Wednesday, December 7, 4 p.m. ET, 1 p.m. PT
Tecate SCORE Baja 500 – Sunday, December 11, 10 p.m. ET, 7 p.m. PT
Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 – Sunday, December 18, 9 p.m. ET, 9 p.m. PT
     Re-air: Sunday, December 18, 12 a.m. ET/PT
     Re-air: Monday, December 19, 6 p.m. ET, 3 p.m. PT
SCORE on OLN 2006 Broadcast Schedule (through March Only)
Travis Pastrana’s Baja Diaries – Sunday, January 1, 3 p.m. ET, Noon PT
SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge – Thursday, February 2, 6:30 p.m. ET, 3:30 p.m. PT
     Re-air: Monday, February 7, 3 p.m. ET, Noon PT
Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250 – Wednesday, March 16, 6:30 p.m. ET, 3:30 p.m. PT
     Re-air: Monday, March 21, 3 p.m. ET, Noon PT

Industry News
China: Land of opportunity China: Land of opportunityHe's been at it 43 years, but C. Peter Theut would be the first to tell you he's never seen anything as exciting or frightening as the prospect of doing business in China.

"The potential is enormous," said Theut (pronounced "TOIT"), who runs the international law department at Detroit's Butzel Long law firm and has been to China more than 50 times in the past eight years. But Theut is quick to add that the complications of doing business there can be just as daunting. He cites regulations that change frequently, communication challenges and expensive set-up fees among the hurdles new businesses need to confront in China.

Regardless of the challenges, a growing number of small businesses across Michigan are looking at the Asian nation as fertile ground for expansion.

And why not?

China -- with 1.3 billion people -- is experiencing tremendous growth. Estimates are it could surpass the United States as the world's largest economy within the next 20 years.

Now that Michigan's fortunes are struggling, with an unemployment rate at 6.1% and companies like Delphi Corp., Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp. laying off workers by the thousands, it's no wonder more businesses, big and small, are taking a serious look at the Chinese market.

"If we do not understand how fundamentally the world has changed with the emergence of 1.3 billion new Chinese capitalists and instant communication through technology and take swift action to respond, we will become irrelevant and an economic backwater," says Tom Watkins, former Michigan school superintendent and an education-economic consultant who has traveled extensively in China.

Here is a roundup of some of the activity Michigan companies and government agencies have taken part in: More.... (A must read for those who don't understand our prediction years ago that China is going to blow right past the USA as the world's #1 economic superpower.  The world is finally waking up.)

Racing News
Autosport International show news Autosport International show newsAutosport International 2006, 12-15 January, is storming forward, with more launches than ever before. A host of international drivers and top-flight cars from across the spectrum of motorsport are also lining up to attend the show, which is held at the NEC in Birmingham.

The biggest-ever collection of more than 600 performance and racing cars will be seen at the show. Some of these astonishing cars will be unveiled to the world for the very first time, while others will be making their UK debut. One of the headliners will be French manufacturers Ligier, who will make their first appearance at Autosport International and unveil the JS49 Sport Prototype. Other launches come from Mitsubishi (with the L200 and the Lancer Evolution EVO IX), Subaru (with the new Impreza WRX STI), Alfa Romeo, Connaught, Radical, Team Spatz, Maybach, plus many more which are due to be announced over the coming weeks.

Red Bull Racing Formula One young gun Vitantonio Liuzzi will officially open the show on Thursday 12 January, while Bernie Ecclestone is traveling to the NEC to visit the show for the first time ever on Friday 13 January to deliver the ninth Motorsport Safety Fund Sid Watkins Lecture. This annual lecture on motorsport safety has proven to be a growing highlight of the show and is now attended by some 500 delegates.

The first ever Briton to be crowned DTM Champion, Gary Paffett, will feature alongside World Rally stars Marcus Gronholm, Markko Martin and legendary co-driver Nicky Grist. Also in attendance will be BTCC stars Jason Plato, Luke Hines and Gareth Howell. zzzz

ITV F1's Louise Goodman and Paul Musselle will host the Live Action Arena, presented by Fulda Tires, with a little help from Superbike supremo Jamie Whitham. The battle of the McRaes will see Jimmy McRae, still the most successful British Rally Championship competitor, go head-to-head with Russell Brookes, while Alister McRae is pitting his skills against Martin Rowe, both in identical Subaru Imprezas.

Grand Prix Racewear, the Motorsport safety equipment, performance parts and accessories supplier, are providing a massive 12% off all orders placed with them during the course of the show. This amazing offer is valid to all pre-registered trade visitors.

In celebration of Autosport International's stunning 100 Years of Grand Prix Racing feature, presented by the Donington Grand Prix Collection, all trade day visitors will also get £7 off entry to the museum located at Donington Park, when purchasing two tickets.

For the latest information and tickets log onto

The Show is open 09.00 to 18.00 daily.
Press day: Thursday 12 January 2006
Trade only: Thursday 12 & Friday 13 January 2006
Public days: Saturday 14 & Sunday 15 January 2006

Another LMP1 team joins ALMS Another LMP1 team joins ALMSFollowing a successful campaign in the 2005 American Le Mans Series, Autocon Motorsports has unveiled today its plans to return to the LMP1 class with an AER-powered Lola EX257 for the 2006 season.

Autocon is the first privateer team to confirm its entry for the eighth year of the American Le Mans Series. Many more are expected prior to the season-opening 54th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

"The chassis-engine combination has proven it can be competitive with the best sports cars in the world," said Mike Lewis, Autocon Motorsports team owner. "We think that it will continue being a worthy contender during this period where teams are ebbing and flowing between the current generation and the next generation of cars."  zzzz

Autocon's Lola is the No. 20 entry that previously had been fielded by Dyson Racing in the American Le Mans Series. Thanks to a rules extension by IMSA that extends the life of prototypes that were homologated under the LMP900 and P675 specs, the chassis remains eligible to compete in the American Le Mans Series through the end of 2006.

 Lola EX257-AERs have driven to overall victories three times in the American Le Mans Series. In 2003, it became the first P675 (now LMP2) car to win an overall race.

Autocon plans to take possession of the Lola later this month and will begin testing shortly thereafter on tracks in the Western United States. The team does not anticipate attending the IMSA-organized Wheels Down Winter Test at Sebring International Raceway in January.

"Dyson Racing put a tremendous amount of development into these cars, had great drivers in them throughout, pushed the cars to their limits, and we have the great fortune of being recipients of their hard work, creativity, and knowledge," said Bryan Willman, one of three drivers who will pilot the car for Autocon in 2006.

Lewis will pilot the car in nine of the 10 races on the American Le Mans Series' 2006 schedule. Chris McMurry, a regular in the series' prototype ranks, will drive in eight races. Willman, who teamed with Lewis in six events in 2005, will drive in the three longest races of the season (Sebring, Petit Le Mans and the Monterey Sports Car Championships), as well as at Houston, Salt Lake City and Portland.

As a group, the trio has combined for 68 ALMS starts, nine wins and 24 podiums.

"This came together as a result of an impromptu discussion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca," said McMurry. "Bryan and I raced together for three years (2002-2004) at Team Bucknum, and Michael and Bryan hooked up in the Riley & Scott this past year. There was immediate chemistry, camaraderie and commitment, and a few weeks later we have some exciting news."

"As has always been the case, we believe our privateer teams are the heart and soul of the American Le Mans Series," said Scott Atherton, series president and CEO. "It encourages me to see an operation like Autocon take what Dyson Racing, Lola and AER have built and make it their own. The plans being announced today represent a big step forward for Autocon, and it is gratifying to witness their growth and success as a top privateer team. On behalf of our series, and our fans, I want to thank Autocon for their commitment and the competition they bring to the American Le Mans Series." ALMS

Kimi and McLaren win Autosport awards Kimi and McLaren win Autosport awardsKimi Raikkonen was crowned International Racing Driver of the Year ahead of Fernando Alonso at last night's prestigious Autosport Awards, which is voted for by readers of the magazine.

The Finn attended the event in London to collect the trophy, which was presented by former World Champion Nigel Mansell.

On receiving his award, Kimi discussed his highlights of the year, "I guess all the wins for sure. The Japanese Grand Prix was one of the great moments, and Monaco was a good place to win. It could have been better this season but I am happy. It is always exciting to fight, and of course we wanted to win, but that is part of the game - and still it was one of the best years for me in Formula One." McLaren Mercedes

Autosport Award winners Autosport Award winnersThe prestigious Autosport awards were handed out Sunday at the annual Autosport show in London.

McLaren Autosport BRDC: Oliver Jarvis
Gregor Grant: Bernie Ecclestone
British Comp. Driver: Dan Wheldon
Int. Racing Driver: Kimi Raikkonen
Racing Car of the Year: McLaren
Int. Rally Driver: Sebastien Loeb
Rally Car of the Year: Citroen Xsara
John Bolster Award: Pat Symonds
John Bolster Award: John Force
Gregor Grant: Tom Kristensen
Pioneering and Innovation: GP2

A busy day for Ferrari at the Bologna Motorshow A busy day for Ferrari at the Bologna MotorshowIt was an intense day for Ferrari at the Bologna Motorshow as the Scuderia exhibited and the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli races took place.

On the Arena circuit, Luca Badoer drove a few laps, punctuated by pit stops that allowed the Scuderia mechanics to perform spectacular tire changes that caused a stir among the watching crowds. On the F2005's third stop, the team completed the tire change in 4''82, the lowest ever time set by the Maranello squad at this Motorshow.

After having run some steady laps driving the car at the limit on the slippery surface, Badoer ended the show with some controlled spins.

Ten 360 Challenge Trofeo Pirellis competed in a special single-make race. After free practice and qualifying sessions, the quarter and semi-finals were run. Thomas Kemenater claimed overall victory, beating Niki Cadei in the final. The third place run off went to Vito Postiglione, with Michael Cullen taking fourth.

On Monday, the Coppa Shell race reserved to Gentleman drivers, will take place. This will mark the end of the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli season. In 2006, the F430 will make its debut. There will also be two new official sponsors: Sabelt, which, since 1972, has stood for total safety in the automobile sector and racing in general, and 3Elle, international leader in the production of wooden doors and windows. Ferrari

MF1 Racing looking to push forward with Bridgestone MF1 Racing looking to push forward with BridgestoneThe new Midland Formula One team are preparing to step up development with Bridgestone in a bid to hit the ground running ahead of an intensive winter testing program.

Team owner Alex Shnaider bought Jordan Grand Prix at the start of this season and have run and developed the team under its original name before re-naming the team MF1 Racing last month.

With the new name will come an increase in commitment to push the team forward and Team Principal Colin Kolles said: "It is a completely different approach for next year, more testing, a new look, everything is changed. This will be a new team with the right people. We have 90 percent or 95 percent of the right people here and we hope that we will improve. This is our aim, to do a better job than this year."

"We have a lot of things in place to do that. We are working on a new car, new projects, bits and pieces, the workshop, the structure. We did a lot of work this year and I think we are not that bad at the moment with the structure."

Kolles said the team are updating the headquarters at Silverstone as part of their long-term development and they are already well on the way to completing their new 2006 car design.
Midland has joined Formula One with a view to making the team a profitable one, and to do that they recognize it must be successful both on the track and also in the business boardroom. zzzz

This season has been a struggle, but extra resources have been invested in the team to ensure a much better showing next year.

"We hope to get regular points next year, that is our ambition," said Kolles. "The ultimate aim is to win, but you have to be realistic. I am not going to say we will win a race in five years because it depends on a lot of things."

"Also, Midland is a privately owned company; it has no consumer brand like Red Bull does, so the strategy is to make it a successful running business, that is the point, so we have a different approach to this."

"Every team has to be financially successful, this is also one of the important things for us because we have to generate money, it is not as if the manufacturer is paying us money."

"So right now it is almost impossible to win except in special events like heavy rain or something like that, when something different happens, because under normal circumstances you cannot really compete with the manufacturers."

"It is just a matter to be at the right time at the right place. But I am enjoying it here, everything is bigger, more important, there is more press, there is more everything."

This season saw Jordan driver Tiago Monteiro, of Portugal, finish in all but one Grand Prix, better than the rest of the field, and claim a podium in the United States Grand Prix as well as a hard-earned point in the Belgian Grand Prix.

But most importantly for Kolles, the season has been one where Midland has successfully built up a team of engineers and management equipped to take the team forward.
And asked if the 2005 season has been a useful one, Kolles said: "From my point of view, yes. Some people say it would have been better to build up the team from scratch but I think now the team is in better shape than last year."

One of the things learned this year is how to develop the working relationship with Bridgestone, and Kolles has been particularly impressed with the Japanese tire firm's involvement.

He added: "We have a close relationship with Bridgestone, we are very happy with them. They have had some hard times this year but we have to fight together and bring back the results.

"That is the point, a Bridgestone team has won the world championship seven times in the last eight years so one year is a bad year but next year could be a good year. I think we will be able to help them.

"We will start testing in December, not the end of February like this year, so that is already three month's advantage, which is quite a lot of time in Formula One." Bridgestone

Doornbos looking forward to the Red Bull life Doornbos looking forward to the Red Bull lifeRobert Doornbos piped long-time Red Bull driver Scott Speed to the third seat at Red Bull Ferrari in 2006 and after a season working with first Jordan Toyota and then Minardi Cosworth. Now he is looking forward to his season with Red Bull.

Doornbos’ connection with Red Bull go back to his season alongside Vitantonio Liuzzi at Christian Horner’s Red Bull backed Arden International F3000 team. While impressing with Minardi is his part-season with the Italian team, Doornbos was looking to move up the field in 2006.

“The talks moved up a gear at the Chinese GP, when Mr. Mateschitz said he had been following my progress and that he would like to give me a chance,” Doornbos stated whist testing at Circuit de Catalunya last week. “In the end, the contract actually got signed here in the race truck at Barcelona. Wow! That’s a really Formula One way of doing things.”

Minardi of course operated on a fraction of the budget that Red Bull Racing enjoys. The difference was apparent immediately to the Dutch racer. "When I was in the factory in England I had already seen the difference between Red Bull Racing and Minardi," Doornbos explained. "In Minardi there were 80 people and here there are about five times that many, so it’s a different world."

While Formula One is always at the forefront of his mind, Doornbos is looking forward to the Christmas break where he will spend time skiing with friends and family in Switzerland. Red Bull Racing

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Ralf's V8 'coffee machine'
Wurz handed McLaren deadline
Loeb wins 'RoC' in Paris
Trulli wants Toyota win
Rosberg, Flying 'German'
FIA wing not dead - FIA
BMW 'expect' JV to perform
Todt buys Malaysian home
Kimi pips Alonso again
'We're still friends'
Albers' optimism
'Stay glued to Honda, JB'
BMW delay criticized
Toyota launch too early
'Fed up' F1 fans
Tost exit won't hurt BMW
Heidfeld hails JV decision
F1 averages 38 million viewers per race F1 averages 38 million viewers per raceInitiative's ViewerTrack 2005 Formula One audience figures shows that despite diminishing podium appearances from Michael Schumacher, and the legendary Ferrari, F1 has sustained its popularity and remains unrivalled as an annual global TV sports event.

What's interesting is that with the ban on tobacco advertising, there will be a notable shift in the marketing of F1 as a sponsorship property. F1 has been associated with tobacco brands for the last 37 years with the first commercial sponsorship of Lotus by Gold Leaf at the Monaco Grand Prix in 1968.

ViewerTrack 2005 report said that this break with the past will open up possibilities for F1 as a 'cleaner' environment for more family-friendly and health-conscious brand sponsors. The risk of negative associations from the halo effect of advertising alongside a tobacco brand has long since excluded F1 as an attractive sports property for brands from such sectors. "If the tobacco industry and teams don't find a way round the restrictions, we could start to see an interesting shift with some new brands in the future. Already, in a deal managed by Initiative in 2003, GlaxoSmithKline were the first to associate its NiQuitin CQ brand, a smoking cessation product, with the Williams F1 team," the report added.

Additionally, the ViewerTrack 2005 report also revealed that F1 remains unparalleled, not only in its ability to deliver huge audiences annually, but what is truly unique is the upmarket viewing profile of that audience. "No other TV sport event has the power to reach the F1 upmarket audience who would otherwise be associated with more niche sports such as polo as yachting, and on such a large scale," said the report..

Figures from this season's report reveal that cumulative audiences increased by three per cent compared to last year. However, although the season's viewing levels are up overall, viewing per race is down by three per cent. The global increase in number of viewers this year is due to the cumulative result of adding a 19th Grand Prix to the calendar, a new race which took place in Turkey, and served to boost the total number of events to watch.

The report also showed that only a few markets showed substantial viewing increases and the reason is unequivocally liked to national pride in a "local hero." The fastest-growing markets this season included Spain (due to Alonso) and France (due to Renault). They saw 60 per cent and 23 per cent increases in average audiences per race, respectively. This translated to growth in average audiences per race of 1.9 million and 0.7 million individuals, as the chart below shows:

However, globally, without the addition of Turkey's Grand Prix, the cumulative audience year on year would have been down by three per cent. Schumacher's absence from the podium indicates that F1 not only benefits from Local Hero Syndrome but also from a new phenomenon - the Anti-Hero Syndrome, which is being seen with Schumacher. the report added that, after complaints that Schumacher's domination of the sport has been killing viewer interest, it could well be that without him, audience defection might be worse.

Another issue at hand as far as F1 is concerned is television broadcast of football at the same time as F1. According to ViewerTrack 2005, the clashes in broadcasting of matches in the 2006 FIFA World Cup tournaments and Grand Prix races will be a major influence on global TV viewing next year. Likely clashes identified so far are the British Grand Prix and the Montreal Grand Prix. The Montreal Grand Prix was the most watched Grand Prix this year although is obviously unlikely to be viewers' favorite next year with such a tempting alternative.

Initiative tracked viewing data in 52 markets during the 2005 F1 season:

Race Average Audience ('000s)
Canada, Montreal 52,858
Spain, Barcelona 49,643
San Marino, Imola 49,115
Brazil, Interlagos 48,364
Monaco, Monte Carlo 47,945
Belgium, Spa-Francorchamps 45,378
Europe, Nurburgring 45,055
Turkey, Istanbul 44,264
Hungary, Budapest 43,614
France, Magny-Cours 42,318
Germany, Hockenheim 42,106
Italy, Monza 42,071
US, Indianapolis 41,938
Great Britain, Silverstone 41,741
Bahrain, Bahrain 36,429
Australia, Melbourne 36,200
Malaysia, Sepang 36,004
China, Shanghai 27,007
Japan, Suzuka 24,564

Audi to unveil new R10 Audi to unveil new R10The countdown has started: On Tuesday, December 13th, Audi unveils the eagerly awaited successor of the ultra-successful Audi R8 in Paris. The new R10 is one of the most ambitious projects which Audi Sport has ever undertaken.
Todt buys home in Malaysia Todt buys home in MalaysiaFerrari motor racing team boss, Jean Todt has bought a holiday home on Pulau Duyong here so that he can spend more time with his Malaysian fiancée, popular Hong Kong actress, Datuk Michelle Yeoh.

"Its confirmed, I have bought a property on the island. I may spend my holidays here with Michelle," Todt told reporters here Saturday. Asked when the wedding would take place, Todt, 59, said, "I have not decided when and where to get married. I will let you know."

Jeff Gordon’s latest girlfriend Jeff Gordon’s latest girlfriendIngrid Vandebosch is the girlfriend of NASCAR Nextel Cup driver Jeff Gordon.  The couple reportedly met on the set of the movie "Taxi," in which Ingrid portrays a bank robber and Jeff makes an uncredited cameo appearance.

The Belgian model began her career at 16 with a small agency in Holland and was discovered by Parisian agents three years later.  She moved to Paris where she lived for six years working on projects for Christian Dior, Amway, Elle, Marie Claire, Vogue and Glamour.  Seeking new opportunities in modeling ,as well as film and theatre, she later moved to New York City where she secured a beauty contract with Artistry Cosmetics.

Ingrid's feature film credits include "Taxi" and "Going Greek."

Her previous flames include Actor Bruce Willis and former Baltimore Oriole Brady Anderson. More....

NASCAR happy with Chase system NASCAR happy with Chase systemChanges to NASCAR's 10-race, playoff-style Chase for the Nextel Cup would be minimal if any are made at all,  chairman Brian France said Thursday in New York.  Despite the absence of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon in the Chase, France said TV ratings increased this year and he doesn't expect to alter the 2-year-old format featuring the top 10 drivers or the Chase lineup of tracks.

"We like the format, (and) it has created that playoff atmosphere, so my sense is that any changes will be really small," he said.

BMW expect Villeneuve to be on pace in 2006 BMW expect Villeneuve to be on pace in 2006BMW expect Jacques Villeneuve to start next season as quickly as new teammate Nick Heidfeld. BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen said on Sunday he was confident the Canadian had overcome the problems that had critics this year writing off the former world champion's Formula One future.

"We had some meetings, some discussions and we got the impression that he is very motivated for next year to continue with the performance he showed towards the end of the year," Theissen told Reuters.

"So on that basis we decided for him to be the other driver next year.

"The relationship is okay. We had some meetings and its perfect now.

"Towards the end of the season he was about Felipe (Massa)'s pace so I am confident he will do a good job next year. It's certainly a different situation to last year where he returned from a break.

"Now he has driven this car on Michelin tires for an entire season so there's no reason why he shouldn't be strong from the beginning.

"He'll get the same support as Nick and we expect him to be as strong as Nick."

Pre-Christmas test crucial for Toyota Pre-Christmas test crucial for ToyotaToyota's engine technical director, Luca Marmorini, has stated that the team's upcoming Jerez test will be crucial to their racing engine for the early races of 2006.

"The next test is just a few days away but this is an important time because we have just three weeks before the Christmas break," explained Marmorini. "This is when we have to define the engine parts with long manufacturing times that we will take to the first race in Bahrain. At the January and February tests it will be too late to react in time for Bahrain, and so that is the reason you don't want to lose any test days at this time."

Ralf Schumacher blew up one of the Toyota engines during testing at Catalunya last week - however Marmorini felt the problem was not significant and that the overall performance of the powerplant had been "very positive".

"We are still analyzing the issue Ralf had with the engine on Thursday but it's not serious because the engine had already done 900kms," he said. "In terms of performance and durability we have had a very positive response by all three drivers. We already have a package that we could race. We are still working on more engine improvements and whatever we can apply without taking too many risks, we will do so."

Racing News
Hulman-George family receives award Hulman-George family receives awardIndianapolis Motor Speedway Chairman Mari Hulman George accepted the prestigious Dusty Brandel President's Award on behalf of the Hulman-George family at the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association annual All-America Team dinner presented by Sprint NEXTEL on Dec. 3 in Indianapolis.

The Hulman-George family was honored for its vision, leadership and dedication to motorsports during its 60 years of ownership of IMS. Mari Hulman George received the award before a sellout audience at the 36th annual dinner, which took place at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Indianapolis.

The dinner officially concluded the 50th Anniversary Celebration for AARWBA, the oldest and largest organization of motorsports media professionals in America.

"My family is very grateful for this recognition," Mari Hulman George said. "My father was a strong supporter of the fine work of AARWBA, and we are pleased to have continued that tradition through the years. We really appreciate the significant role that AARWBA and its members have played in the growth of IMS and of racing in the United States."  zzzz

Terre Haute, Ind., businessman Tony Hulman purchased the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Nov. 14, 1945. The facility had deteriorated since the Indianapolis 500 was suspended from 1942-45 due to America's participation in World War II.

But Hulman's vision and leadership helped restore the Speedway to its position as the leading motorsports facility in the world, as the Indianapolis 500 resumed in 1946 and has continued annually as the world's most prestigious auto race.

Hulman guided the Speedway until his death in October 1977. His wife, Mary Fendrich Hulman, became chairman of the board after his death, and their daughter, Mari Hulman George, became chairman of the board in 1988.

Mari Hulman George's son, Anton Hulman "Tony" George, became president of the Speedway in January 1990 and now is chief executive officer of IMS and the Indy Racing League. Under Tony George's leadership, the Speedway has expanded its schedule to become the only racing facility to play host to the world's three major racing series, with the Indianapolis 500 for the IRL IndyCar® Series, United States Grand Prix for Formula One and Allstate 400 at the Brickyard for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series.

2005 Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon also was a major award winner at the dinner, as he was named the recipient of the Jerry Titus Memorial Award as national driver of the year. The prestigious award is selected by AARWBA members. IMS PR

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